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Adaptive Physical Education Advice and Website

Adaptive Physical Education Advice and Website

Allan Stanbridge is the Adapted Physical Education Coordinator for the San Mateo Union High School District, as well as an excellent competitive masters (over 40) runner. Allan offers the following information.

In most school districts virtually all of the children with special needs are provided with Adapted Physical Education services through their schools, as part of their Individualized Educational Plans. The Adaptive P.E. Specialist in your school or district would be glad to provide information about individual students that would assist the regular teacher in developing a successful program for the student. This would include appropriate activities that would fit into the JUST RUN program. JUST RUN leaders should seek assistance and advice from the A.P.E. specialists as a first step.

Depending on the child, there are general modifications/adaptations for the special needs student that can typically be made to insure the JUST RUN program is inclusive, effective and fun. The teacher or specialist has to determine the level of functional mobility for the student; this can be in the complete range from the ability to run and do drills and relays in a normal fashion to disabilities or motor deficiencies that completely impair running ability.

Fortunately, almost all children function with some type of mobility. Your evaluation may show that some children can run for a limited time or distance and then need to walk for recovery. Others can only walk. Even students who use crutches, or either manually powered or motorized wheelchairs, can cover measured distances and their mileage can be recorded, as well.

The assigned distance or course would have to be modified {shortened, or moved to a surface which would accommodate the student's level of mobility). This student would need a smooth, firm surface on which to perform the activity.

Special needs students can perform all the warm-up exercises and drills assigned with modifications being made according to the nature of the disability.

The JUST RUN leader can also involve aides or assign certain students to assist special needs students. This could be a key element of success for many. They can be classmates, older students, adult instructional aides, parents, siblings, etc. The aides would lend physical assistance, directions and instructions, and offer important support and encouragement. The aides would assist as needed and follow closely along as the special needs student covers their assigned distance. They would keep the student on the designated course, count or measure the distance covered, and provide motivation to help the student stay on task.

The basic goal as a JUST RUN leader is to include the student in the activities. This will increase self esteem and level of physical and health related fitness, and help with skill development.

Special needs students are given a modified version of the California Physical and Health Related Fitness test including: the 1 mile run, sit ups, sit and reach, and pull ups / flexed arm hang. I test the students three times per year. Each student has a goal in their Individualized Education Program related to improving their fitness level/performance. We do running, stretching, and strength development each day.

Our County has a person from the Education Department who organizes school-related Special Olympics competitions for all interested schools throughout the school year. In the Fall there is soccer; in the Winter, basketball, and in the Spring there is track and field. I base the rest of my instruction around skill development in these areas to prepare the students for these competitions. In the Spring, students participate in an all school day track meet where each student is timed or measured in a running event, the standing long jump, and some sort of throwing event involving various implements.

Consult the Special Olympics coordinator in your area for more information.

Adaptive P.E. Website 

To visit a great website for all sorts of information on Adaptive P.E. click here. If you want to learn more about how to provide activities for children with special needs then take a look.