The mission of the Adapted Physical Education Program is to provide students with disabilities with the same opportunities as their non-disabled peers. The Individual Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides the framework to ensure that students with disabilities receive the best education possible. The Education For Handicapped Act (PL-94-142) a precursor to IDEA defined physical education as the development of (a) physical and motor fitness and (b) skills in aquatics, dance and individual group games and sports including intramural and lifetime sports. Adapted Physical Education services are available for students with disabilities who require a specialized program to progress in their educational setting.
APE/Adapted Aquatics Program services are provided for eligible students as designated in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). The adapted physical education teacher uses a developmental approach to provide instruction to assist students with disabilities to perform in the psychomotor domain. The teacher uses the student's ever-changing developmental levels, needs, and limitations to continually challenge the student to perform at maximum capacity. The developmental approach employs a myriad of methods and techniques in a predetermined and systematic way to facilitate growth and development of students with performance disorders so that they may approximate the norm and achieve their full potential.
The APE teacher provides motor development activities and experiences appropriate for each individual student. These activities encourage progress through the medium of movement. Motor development activities are provided for students from infant/toddler to high school age.
In addition to direct instruction for students, the APE/Adapted Aquatics Program also provides:
APE is a specially designed Physical Education Program to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. The Prince George’s County Adapted Physical Education program includes the following:
In Prince George’s County members of the APE staff provide direct APE services to students participating in special programs. There has been much debate over who is qualified to provide this specialized program. IDEA regulations allow states to determine who is “qualified” to provide APE services. Currently, the state of Maryland does not require APE services be provided by a trained APE specialist. Therefore, for students with disabilities that are attending neighborhood schools, Prince George’s County Public Schools is dependent upon General Physical Education teachers to provide APE services. It is assumed the General Physical Educators are: Properly trained to provide APE:
Fortunately, Prince George’s County Public Schools has established an APE program. It is imperative that General Physical Education teachers as well as IEP teams seek the advice and support of the Adapted Physical Education Program when providing APE services.Students who have been identified as having a specific disability can be assessed to determine if they qualify for APE services. Prince George’s County Public Schools has established that a student must demonstrate at least a two year delay in gross motor or physical fitness to qualify for APE. In addition, IDEA requires that all assessments be implemented by a qualified person. Therefore, the Adapted Physical Education Program should be notified of all students needing a gross motor assessment.
If a GPE, classroom teacher or parent feels a student with a disability would benefit from APE, they should first contact the student’s case manager who is most likely the student’s special education teacher. The case manager would then bring this to the attention of the entire IEP team. If the team agrees to pursue a gross motor assessment to determine if a student qualifies for APE services, the case manager will contact the Adapted Physical Education Program.