Adaptive PE on the Playground and in the Gym
Updated: Feb 8
Everyone needs to be as active as they can be to stay strong and healthy. People with physical limitations need exercise just as much as people without disabilities. But physical limitations often make it necessary to design activities or classrooms to meet special needs. Whether you are playing outdoors on the playground or indoors in a gymnasium, exercise can help you be active and healthy. Physical education teachers have special training to give them ideas to help all students be active during school. Teachers can also use special equipment that will make it easier for you to play games and sports with balls.
Adapting Activities and Materials for Young Children With Disabilities (PDF): Everyone needs to be able to participate in active play, regardless of physical abilities. Teachers can create class activities that encourage all students to be as active as possible.
Ideas for Including a Student With Quadriplegia in Physical Education (PDF): Students with spinal cord injuries may be able to swim, golf, and more with special assistance and adapted activities.
Teaching, Responding, and Communicating Quality Physical Education (PDF): A student with a disability might use a larger or lighter bat to play baseball. Balls can also be larger, lighter, and a different color to make it easier for a student to play.
Adapting Basketball Instruction (PDF): Kids in wheelchairs can play basketball with a few modifications to the game. A special wheelchair with wider wheels can make it easier to play basketball.
Recess Activities and Games (PDF): Pushing, rolling, tossing, and catching balls of all different sizes is a great way for all students to play actively on the playground together.
How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need? All kids need 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Even kids with disabilities will benefit from participating in active play according to their abilities.
Rope Jumping: Jumping rope is both fun and good exercise. Kids should be allowed to work at their own pace to master jumping rope for exercise.
Train at School (PDF): Special lesson plans can help kids who need adaptive physical education so they can reach physical fitness goals and milestones.
Seven Ways to Include a Student With Physical Needs in Physical Education: Participating in physical activity will help kids with disabilities avoid health issues such as obesity.
Inclusive Physical Education: Everyone has different skills and physical abilities. When teachers create physical education classes that meet every student’s individual needs, everyone benefits.
The Effect of Peer Tutoring in P.E. for Students with Severe Disabilities: This study examines the ways peer tutoring can effect physical education for middle school students with severe disabilities.
Adapt the Fun for Everyone: Including people with disabilities in the planning phase of a physical education program can help ensure that the program meets all needs.
Adapting Games, Sports, and Recreation for Children and Adults Who Are Deaf-Blind: Students who are deaf and blind can successfully participate in physical education activities with special modifications that connect movement with language.
Disability Awareness Activity Packet (PDF): Helping students learn about disabilities and what it might be like to experience health issues such as not being able to hear or not being able to walk can increase empathy.
Asthma and Sports: A person with asthma may have trouble breathing, especially when exercising. Medication may help someone with asthma participate in sports without having flare-ups.
Understanding Invisible Disabilities: Invisible disabilities may make it hard for students to participate in regular physical education at school. A supportive environment can help all students succeed.
Physical Education (PDF): Participating in physical education classes helps kids build confidence and self-esteem.
What Is Adapted Physical Education? Students with autism, deafness, blindness, emotional disturbances, or other physical limitations can participate in adapted physical education with specially designed classes.
Large Motor Activities A list of ideas for games and activities that can help your students improve their large motor skills such as bowling, bean bag toss, and playing with beach balls or balloons.
Begin With Strengths: Supporting Students With Disabilities in the Inclusive Classroom: Avoiding labels, teachers can give students beneficial encouragement by focusing on their individual strengths.
Modifications and Adaptations: Teachers should always check with students first to see if they want special modifications to participate in physical activity.
Adapted Physical Education (PDF): Participating in physical activity helps kids develop better balance, coordination, flexibility, and endurance.
Adapted Physical Education Curriculum (PDF): Students with disabilities often need to learn a little more slowly, but this individualized pace will help them succeed.