Adapted physical education is the art and science of developing and implementing a carefully designed physical education instructional program for an individual with a disability, based on a comprehensive assessment, to give the individual the skills necessary for a lifetime of rich leisure, recreation, and sport experiences to enhance physical fitness and wellness. (Auxter, Pyfer, & Huettig, 2001).
What skills does an Adapted Physical Educator need?
The Council for Personnel Preparation for the Handicapped (sic) endorsed the following recommendation for competencies in adapted physical education:
Knowledge of motor characteristics, behaviors, and developmental sequences (including birth through age 22) associated with various disabilities in relation to normal motor development;
Knowledge of neurological basis of normal and abnormal motor control and sensory motor integration methods for teaching physical education to individuals with severe disabilities, nonambulatory individuals, and individuals with multiple disabilities;
Skills in psychomotor assessment and a variety of physical education techniques and procedures for implementing the individual education plan; and
Developmental teaching methods/materials and gymnasium organizational abilities in physical and motor fitness, fundamental motor skills and skills in aquatics, dance, individual and group games and sports for individuals with disabilities and/or motor problems
Who is an Adapted Physical Education Teacher?
The adapted physical education teacher (APE) is the person responsible for developing an appropriate physical education plan for individuals with disabilities. The APE teacher is a physical educator with highly specialized training in the assessment and evaluation of motor competency, physical fitness, play, and leisure, recreation and sport skills. The APE teacher has the skills necessary to develop an individualized physical education program and to implement the program.
The APE teacher is a direct service provider, not a related service provider, because special physical education is a federally mandated component of special education services [USCA 1402(25)].
What responsibilities should an Adapted Physical Education Specialist assume?
direct service provider (hands-on teaching)
assessment specialist, completing comprehensive motor assessments of individuals with disabilities and making specific program recommendations
consultant for physical education and special education staff providing physical education instruction for individuals with disabilities
IEP (Multi-disciplinary Team or Admission, Review, Dismissal) Committee member who helps develop the IEP in the psychomotor domain
student and parent advocate
program coordinator who develops curricular materials, develops intra and inter-agency collaborations to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, and monitors progress on IEP's
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