What is Adapted Physical Education?

Adapted Physical Education is physical education which 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.

Federal law mandates that physical education be provided to students with disabilities and defines Physical Education as the development of:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990) uses the term disability as a diagnostic category that qualifies students for special services. These categories include:

The services provided by an APE teacher include (adapted from Sherrill, 1998):

The APE teacher is a direct service provider, not a related service provider, because physical education for children with disabilities is a federally mandated component of special education services [U.S.C.A. 1402 (25)]. This means that physical education needs to be provided to the student with a disability as part of the  special education services that child and family receive. 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.