Schools, parents, and even government leaders agree that physical education is a critical part of a child’s school day. It promotes the importance of exercise and activity for your health and overall well-being.
Physical education is important for all students, including those with physical disabilities. If your child is entering school in California, you should know that adaptive physical education (APE) can be a part of your child’s individualized education program (IEP).
The basics of APE
APE provides modified physical education to students with physical disabilities. Educators certified in providing adaptive physical education generally:
- Assess the child’s physical abilities
- Design PE courses to specifically meet the child’s needs
According to California rules, schools must first see how modifications and accommodations within the general physical education courses work for the student. This is because the policy of providing education in the least restrictive environment (LRE) still applies, whether it is in the gymnasium or the classroom. However, if these accommodations are not up to par or do not meet the child’s needs, then APE can be an option moving forward.
What are some examples of APE?
Of course, the activities in APE will vary depending on your child’s specific needs. They are also often recognizable sports and games with some adaptations, such as:
- Volleyball with lowered nets
- Dodgeball with balloons or soft balls
- Baseball with tees, large balls and bats
Safety is also a key point in APE. Therefore, many of the modifications may involve adding extra mats for padding or helmets for students to avoid any chance of injury while they participate in physical education.
Just like any other items in your child’s IEP, there must be measurable goals regarding physical education. For example, improving wheelchair mobility may be a goal for a child in a wheelchair.
Children with any kind of disability also have a right to receive a holistic education, which includes physical education. Having your child assessed for APE can help ensure they receive such an education.