Adapted Physical Education (APE)

Adapted Physical Education (APE)

Doctoral Grant Coordinator in Adapted Physical
Education at Texas Woman’s University 


What is Adaptive Physical Education?

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. (Auxter, D., Pyfer, J. & Huettig, C. Principles and Methods of Adapted Physical Education, McGraw-Hill, 9th edition, in press).

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 [U.S.C.A. 1402(25)].

Special Education – The term ‘special education’ means specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of an individual with a disability, including:

  1. Instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals
    and institutions, and in other settings and


    The federal regulations define physical education as "the development of:

    (a) Physical and motor fitness;
    (b) Fundamental motor skills and patterns; and
    (c) Skills in aquatics, dance, individual and group games, and sports
    (including intramural and lifetime sports)". [34 C.F.R. 300.13 (b) (9)]

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