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Special Education Administration and Adapted

Physical Education: What You Need to Know

Scott McNamara and Suzanna Dillon, Texas Women’s


Special Education Administrators And Adapted

Physical Education: What You Need to Know

Scott McNamara, ABD & Suzanna Rocco Dillon, PhD

Texas Woman’s University

Objectives of Presentation

• Attendees will be able to compare and contrast

certifications and qualifications for adapted physical
education (APE) teachers
• Attendees will be able to identify at least three APE
• Attendees will be able to identify common APE transition
processes and how to apply them to their

What is APE?
• APE is developing, implementing and monitoring “specially
designed physical education” (PE) for students with disabilities
• APE is a part of special education and is defined and required by
federal and state laws
• Student needs should be based on assessment and focus on
state and national standards
• APE provides the knowledge and skills to be successful with:
– Fitness, motor skills and health skills
– Sports, recreational and leisure activities


What’s happening here in Texas?

• Based on a survey of Texas Special Education
Administrators (N = 630), there is a need for 2 additional
APE teachers per district in TX (Young & Silliman-French,
• This lack of APE teachers hired as well as a limited
understanding of APE by school personnel (Gray, 2016)
create barriers to APE service delivery for students with
disabilities in Texas.
• In Texas special educators and related service personnel
can teach APE, however it is strongly recommended to
hire APE specialists.

Additional Barriers to APE Service Delivery

• Administration preparation programs may include limited
content and training on APE.
• As a result, special education administrators may:
– Have a limited understanding of how APE is
addressed in special education law (i.e., IDEA)
– Place lesser importance on APE service delivery
when compared to other services
– Assign personnel without knowledge of APE to
provide APE services

Benefits of APE Services

• Students who are physically active have
better academic scores and fewer
behavioral incidents (CDC, 2010).
• Students who are active have greater social
success and positive relations with peers.
• Students who are active have demonstrated
a decrease inappropriate and stereotypic


Who Is Qualified to Provide APE Services?

• While the federal law requires appropriate APE services provided

by credentialed educator, each state sets its criteria for who can
provide APE
• In Texas, APE may be provided by:
– instructional personnel (e.g., APE teachers, PE teachers,
special education teachers) or
– those related service personnel who have the necessary
(19 Texas Administrative Code § 89.1131)

Who Is Qualified to Provide APE Services?

• To ensure appropriate service delivery, it is recommended that

districts hire APE teachers who:
– Have taken advanced coursework in APE,
– Have completed a graduate degree in APE, and/or
– Are nationally certified adapted physical educators (CAPEs)
through the APE National Standards Exam (APENS) process
(National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities, 2008;
SHAPE America, 2015.

Competencies of Qualified APE Teachers

• Develop and implement high • Assess students for APE

quality, specially designed PE eligibility, placement, and
programs programming purposes
• Develop and monitor specially • Assist students with accessing
designed goals and objectives community-based physical
• Communicate and work activity programs
collaboratively with other IEP • Effectively advocate for
team members and parents students with disabilities


Special Education Administrators’ Role

• Advocate for hiring appropriately credential teachers (e.g., CAPEs)
• Provide or support professional development focused on APE
– Conferences and resources available
• Texas Woman’s University APE Conference
• National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals
with Disabilities (NCPEID)
• Council for Exceptional Children (CEC and TX CEC)
• Establish an incentive program for PE or Special Education
teachers to enroll in APE university courses (>12 credits), prepare
for, and pass the APENS

Check for

Purpose of Assessment in APE

• Establish a Present Level of Performance

• Identify Strengths and Needs

• Program Development

• Placement within the Least Restrictive Environment

• Measure Achievement


Assessment Options
Physical Fitness Motor Performance
• Fitnessgram Physical Fitness Test • Adapted Physical Education
• Brockport Physical Fitness Test Assessment Scale
• Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of
Motor Development Motor Proficiency
• Test of Gross Motor Development-2
(TGMD-2) and forthcoming TGMD-3 Aquatics
• Peabody Developmental Motor • Red Cross Skill Progression
Skills-2 (PDMS-2) • Aquatics Skills Checklist

Assessment in Texas
• Surveyed APE teachers in Texas Assessment % used by
Texas APE
(N=76) preferred to use the
TGMD-2 test.
TGMD-2 82
• Reasons why APE teachers like
TGMD are:
Competency Test for APE 67
– shorter administration time
– limited equipment and space
Motor Activities Training 54
needs Program
– familiarity Adapted Physical 44
– standardization criteria Education Assessment
Johnson, Kim, Bittner, & Silliman-French (In Review).

Test of Gross Motor Development-3

• Used for screening, program development, and goal monitoring

for students with and without disabilities (aged 3-10 yrs)
• Assesses 13 motor skills, divided into 2 categories:
– Locomotor
– Ball Skills
• Criterion and Norm-referenced test


Brockport Physical Fitness Test

• Used to assess the health-related fitness of students
(aged 10-17 yrs) with disabilities
• Aligns well with the FITNESSGRAM Physical Fitness Test
• Typically 4 to 6 test items selected from 27 possibilities
based on a personalized approach
• Test scores compared with criterion-referenced standards
based on gender, age, and disability (disability-specific
norms for selected populations)

Authentic Assessments
Texas Region 10’s APE department has developed a variety of
authentic and ecological assessment tools for APE teachers; they
assess areas such as:
• Functional Motor Skills
• Visual Impairment APE Skills
• Lifetime Leisure Skills
• Participation in APE Inventory

Other Factors to Consider

in Determining Unique Need
• Behavior/Communication

• Need for safe participation

• Medical condition or disability

• Potential for intramural and interscholastic athletic experiences

• Nutrition


Special Education Administrators’ Role

• Ensure APE teachers use accurate and appropriate assessments

to guide their teaching and monitor progress
• Develop/identify evaluation tools to monitor APE programs
• Monitor inclusive practices when APE services are provided
within general PE settings with the The Lieberman–Brian
Inclusion Rating Scale for PE or other appropriate tools such as
those from SHAPE America (formerly NASPE).

Transition in APE
The main components of the transition program are:
• Post Secondary Education
• Adult Services
• Independent Living
• Employment
• Community Participation

Transition in APE Continued

Post-Secondary • Accessing fitness and recreational facilities on
Education campus

Integrated • Health impacts days missed on job due to

Employment illness and ability to perform job duties

Independent • Achieve and maintain fitness levels needed

Living for life-skills (e.g., self-care, travel, mobility)

Community • Avoiding isolation through having the

Participation knowledge and skills needed to participate in
inclusive community experiences


How APE Contributes to Transition Plans

• Assessment of skills and interests

• Collaborates with IEP team members in

development of goals

• Aide in designing personal curriculum

• Ensuring meaningful and relevant participation in

PE and community-based physical activity

Dear Colleague Letter to

Dr. Luke Kelly
• Students with disabilities can receive
APE services, even when their
typically developing peers no longer
receive PE services

• APE, when appropriate, should be

apart of the transition process

Consider how APE services benefit Cody's transition…

Cody is a sophomore male with Down syndrome. Cody and his

parents want him to work at a grocery store when he finishes high
school. Cody would ideally be handling boxes, pushing carts, and
bagging people’s groceries. Cody is very social and is able to sort
objects at a high level. However, Cody is easily fatigued after about
5 to 6 minutes of physical activity and has difficulty standing on his
feet for prolonged periods of time.

How could an APE specialist help with Cody's transition plan?


Review of the Objectives

o What are the certifications and qualifications

appropriate for APE teachers in Texas?
o What are 3 assessments appropriate for APE?
o How should APE teachers and services be included
in the transition process?

Audience Questions
Thank you for being
engaged in our

Do you have any


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