Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
Log in


You are here: Home / Instructional Resources / Adapted Physical Education / Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find the answers to questions that are often asked about adapted physical education.

What is Adapted Physical Education?
Adapted Physical Education is a direct service for EC students providing a diversified program which includes remedial and developmental activities as well as modified or adapted activities so that every child can participate in a physical education program.

What is the goal of APE?
The main goal of APE is to provide the most appropriate physical education in a setting that will promote motor skill development, safety, and full participation.

How and where is APE provided to students?
The setting or type of service is based upon each student's needs. These decisions are made by the IEP team after considering the strengths and weaknesses of the student. The IEP team determines the least restrictive setting.

  • Consultation - The APE specialist will give ideas to the school on how to best instruct the student. (Compare to a Reading Specialist).
  • Direct service within the class- The APE Specialist will consult with the regular P.E. teacher about how to structure the class and lessons to best meet the needs of the student. Together both teachers will provide instruction to the student. If an APE specialist is not available, the general PE teacher provides the direct instruction within the PE setting. A PT, OT and/or EC teacher can act as a resource. (Compare to Resource in the classroom).
  • Direct service pullout- The APE Specialist will design and teach lessons directly to the student. If an APE specialist is not available, the general PE teacher provides instruction in a self-contained class setting. Again, PT, OT, and classroom staff can serve as a resource to the general PE teacher. (Compare to resource pullout or self-contained)

What is the difference between Adapted Physical Education, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy? They look the same.
Adapted Physical Education, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy all work with supporting and improving movement of a student but they are not the same.

Physical Therapy is provided by a licensed PT or PT assistant and primarily works to improve gross motor skills, balance, mobility, strength and flexibility of the major muscles using a variety of therapeutic interventions. PT interventions can include: therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapies, mobility or gait training, balance and neuromuscular education or re-education. Physical Therapists address problems with campus and classroom accessibility and equipment needs. They suggest, fit and teach students and teachers to use specific equipment including braces, walkers, standards and wheelchairs.

Occupational therapy is a student-centered continuum of services provided by a licensed occupational therapist or a licensed and supervised occupational therapy assistant. These services assist a student to engage in meaningful and/or necessary occupations that allow a student to participate in and benefit from special education. These occupations may include student role/interaction skills, learning academics and process skills, personal care, play and recreation, written communication, and community integration and work

Adapted Physical Education is the PE curriculum taught and adapted by Adapted Physical Education Specialists and Physical Education teachers through modified games and sport activities to provide specialized instruction for the skills required within the PE curriculum. Adapted Physical Education modifies the game and sport activities so that the student can experience appropriate challenges and subsequent success. Adapted Physical Educators work on:

  • manipulating objects: throwing, catching, striking, kicking, and rolling
  • sequencing, following directions, communication, teamwork and cooperation
  • fitness: strength, flexibility and cardio-respiratory levels
  • motor skills: balance, walking, running, skipping, hopping, jumping and galloping

What are the benefits of Adapted Physical Education?
Adapted Physical Education provides benefits in 3 main areas:

  1. Improve fitness, movement and coordination. Adapted Physical Education provides opportunities and activities that focus on development of strength, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness levels. Adapted Physical Education teaches movement skills and provides opportunities to coordinate movements and participate in sports and other activities.
  2. Improve socialization and self concept Adapted Physical Education provides opportunities to participate with others in a variety of activities and build feelings of success.
  3. Improve cognitive functioning. Adapted Physical Education reinforces math concepts through number identification, counting and keeping score, assists with learning shapes (different ball shapes, target shapes) and colors. Adapted Physical Education encourages development of memory using sequencing of movement, remembering rules and regulations, and problem solving.

Can APE be the only service provided on the IEP?

How does a student receive APE?
The need for APE is determined individually for each student by the IEP team. An evaluation is performed to assess the student’s strengths and needs in learning the PE curriculum. This evaluation is best performed by an APE specialist (someone certified in Adapted PE). It can also be conducted by a PE teacher and an OT or PT, in the case that the LEA does not have an APE specialist.

Is it possible to be placed in APE and later moved into a regular classroom or vice versa?
Yes, ongoing assessments and re-evaluations will continue to determine placement.

What is LRE?
LRE stands for Least Restrictive Environment and means that to the maximum extent appropriate students with disabilities are educated with the general population.

Document Actions