Adaptive Physical Education

  • Adapted Physical Education (APE) is physical education that has been adapted or modified so that it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability. Physical education is the development of:

    a) physical and motor skills;

    b) fundamental motor skills and patterns (throwing, catching, walking, running, etc.); and

    c) skills in individual and group games and sports. 

    APE is a direct service, which means that physical education needs to be provided to the student with a disability as part of the special education services the student receives. This is contrasted with physical therapy and occupational therapy, which are related services. These therapies are provided to the child with disabilities only if he/she needs them to benefit from instruction.

    Physical education services can take many forms depending on the needs of the student. Many students with disabilities are able to participate in the general physical education program. Some can participate with accommodations; some may require adapted instructional methods or equipment and may require consultation with an APE teacher. Some students may require a collaborative effort between the PE teacher and the APE teacher in order to remain in the least restrictive environment. A few students may require specially designed programming outside of the regular physical education classroom.