Adapted Physical Education (APE)

What is Adapted Physical Education?

In New York State, all elementary and secondary students must receive physical education as a part of their educational program. The federal law Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA enacted by Congress in 1975) entitles all students with Disabilities to receive a free, appropriate public education, including appropriate physical education. Adapted physical education (APE) is vitally important to the quality of life for students with disabilities.
The Adapted Physical Education program is developmentally appropriate physical education. It is adapting, modifying, and/or changing a physical activity so it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability. We are providing numerous ways that some sports and activities can be modified and/or changed. The goal is to have an activity where ALL students can fully participate in Physical Education. Change the word "adapted" to "differentiated" and you have the idea of Adapted Physical Education. It is GOOD teaching which differentiates the curriculum, task, equipment, and/or environment as appropriate for each child, so ALL students can successfully learn and participate in physical education.

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

  • physical and motor skills
  • fundamental motor skills and patterns (throwing, catching, walking, running, etc)
  • skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports)

Adapted Physical Education National Standards
Adapted Physical Education FAQ's - Non D75 Schools
Adapted Physical Education: NYS Regulations

General Adaptation Suggestions 

Larger/lighter bat
Use of velcro
Larger goal/target
Mark positions on playing field
Lower goal/target
Scoops for catching
Vary balls (size, weight, color, texture)

Rules Prompts, Cues:
Demonstrate/model activity
Partner assisted
Disregard time limits
Oral prompt
More space between students
Eliminate outs/strike-outs
Allow ball to remain stationary
Allow batter to sit in chair
Place student with disability near teacher

Boundary/Playing Field:
Decrease distance
Use well-defined boundaries
Simplify patterns
Adapt playing area (smaller, obstacles removed)

Change locomotor patterns
Modify grasps
Modify body positions
Reduce number of actions
Use different body parts

Vary the tempo
Slow the activity pace
Lengthen the time
Shorten the time
Provide frequent rest periods

D75 Office of School Wellness Programs
PE/APE Reesources
Health Education Resources
Sports Related Resources
Sports Events

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