Skip to main content

Adapted Physical Education

Adapted PE

What is Adapted PE?

Adapted physical education is a diversified program of developmental activities suited to the capacities, and limitations of students with disabilities who may not safely or successfully engage in unrestricted participation in the activities of the general physical education program. In many circumstances, the adapted physical educator collaborates with general physical educators, classroom teachers, physical and/or occupational therapists. The adapted PE teacher is a service provider, not a related service provider.


Federal laws require that physical education be provided in the least restrictive environment. The intent of the law is not to mainstream or include every student in need of specially designed programs into the regular physical education program, but rather to provide a continuum of services that would provide the most appropriate educational setting for that student.

Referral and Assement

The procedures described in this section provide the steps to be followed when there is concern about the physical and motor development/performance of a student with a disability.

When a special education student (or a student during an initial spec. ed. evaluation) is experiencing significant physical and/or motor difficulties, a referral may be made for an adapted physical education evaluation. The diagnostician will follow these steps: 

  • Obtain parent's signature for Consent to Evaluate or will send Notice to Evaluate (whichever is appropriate). The diagnostician will note on the Consent or Notice, the student is being assessed for adapted PE. 

  • Have the parent complete & sign the Adapted Physical Education Parent Information form. 

  • Have the student's general education PE teacher and/or classroom teacher complete an observation form.

  • The diagnostician will then send the Referral & Observation form and the Parent Information form to the appropriate adapted PE teacher. 

The APE will conduct additional observation(s) and diagnostic assessment of the student. The APE will complete an Eligibility Report and notify the diagnostician when the evaluation is completed and ready for the ARD to review. 

               Continuum of Services For Adapted PE

               Level 1          General Ed. Physical Education (GPE)                         

               Level 2          GPE with Support Personnel   

               Level 3           GPE with APE Direct and/or Consultation

               Level 4           Part-time APE/Part-time GPE

               Level 5           Self-contained APE    

Descriptions of Levels

Level 1 General Ed. Physical Education

  • GPE teacher provides physical education instruction.

Level 2 GPE with Support Personnel

  • GPE teacher provides physical education instruction.

  • Support personnel (i.e. paraprofessionals, volunteers, etc) assist student(s) with disabilities.

Level 3 GPE with APE Direct and/or Consultation**

  • Physical education instruction provided by GPE teacher with APE teacher providing direct instruction and/or consultation**.

  • Support personnel assist the student(s) with disabilities.

Level 4 Part-time APE and Part-time GPE

  • Physical education instruction is provided in both general education setting and special education setting.

  • Both APE and GPE teachers provide scheduled direct services.

  • These direct services can be either a flexible schedule with reverse mainstreaming or fixed schedule with reverse mainstreaming.

  • Support personnel assist the student(s) with disabilities in both settings.

Level 5 Self-contained APE

  • Physical education is provided in the special education setting by the APE teacher and/or classroom teacher.

  • Consultation** or monitoring provided by the APE teacher to the classroom teacher.

  • Support personnel assist the student(s) with disabilities in both settings.

**Note: Consultation from the APE teacher can be made in the form of determining curriculum adjustments, activity modifications, behavior management techniques, communication skills, and /or assessing student skills. Level of consultation can vary.

Local Operating Guidelines Navigation