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Karen:  When my son was in second grade the PE teacher traumatized him to the point of have been diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. My son is now in fifth grade and the same PE teacher is still there and his anxiety prevents him from being in her class. He is on an IEP. Could I request adapted PE classes for him?

  1. Hi, does your son receive physical therapy per IEP? If not, he may not need adaptive PE and you might misunderstand the service. Adaptive PE is a service most commonly designed for students who have challenges with mobility, motor skills and/or physical challenges. I have not heard of adaptive PE ever being granted for a student based strictly on an emotional disability. (i.e. anxiety) Does he have a diagnosis of autism? As far as I know, anxiety alone will not warrant a request for adaptive PE.

  2. You need to have a clear and accurate sense of what adapted PE involves and who may be eligible. Take a look at the Topic Page about PE and Adaptive PE here:
    Before you make the request for Adapted PE, you need to be able to answer questions about why your child needs this service. Walk carefully in how you frame the reason for his PTSD and anxiety issues. If school staff believes you are attacking a teacher, they may be deaf to your request.

  3. Karen –

    You certainly can request it. You may want to start by asking that the school evaluate your son’s need for adaptive PE – it’s easier to say no to a request that’s not backed up by data.

    Adaptive PE guidelines for students with social/emotional needs include things like respecting boundaries and good sportsmanship – the kind of things that should be, but are unfortunately often left out of, “regular” PE.

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