Guidance & FAQs about Adapted Physical Education

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Adapted physical education is physical education that has been modified so it is appropriate for students with disabilities. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004), all students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) should receive effective physical education services.

PE Does Not Have to Occur in a Gym or a School Building

SHAPE America: Position Statement explains how students with disabilities who are enrolled in community-based transition programs may receive physical education in community-based settings.

This guidance includes best practices and recommendations for providing community-based physical education and flows from policy guidance from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) stating that students with disabilities who are enrolled in community-based transition programs may receive physical education in community-based settings.

Answering Frequently Asked Questions about Adapted Physical Educationa comprehensive new resource from SHAPE America!

SHAPE America recommends that an adapted physical education specialist provide the instruction and/or consultative support to the general physical education teacher for a student’s IEP.

Introduction

“This guidance document answers common questions about providing physical
education services for students with disabilities.

The document was developed as a resource for physical educators, adapted physical educators, school district administrators, and parents as they work to provide consistent adapted physical education (APE) services for students with disabilities.”

Find answers to these questions and more…

  • Is physical education required for students with disabilities?
  • What is the difference between APE and specially-designed physical education?
  • At what age are children with disabilities eligible to receive APE services?
  • How does a student qualify for APE services?
  • When should students with disabilities have IEP goals related to APE?
  • What is the difference between APE services delivered under an IEP and a Section 504 plan?
  • Should APE be provided in a separate class?
  • How is APE different from physical therapy or occupational therapy?
  • Does APE apply to intramurals or athletics?

Learn more on Wrightslaw’s page – Physical Education for Students with Disabilities

Physical Education Position Statements and Guidance Documents from SHAPE America

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