Overcoming Adapted Physical Education Barriers through Collaboration among Special Educators and Administrators

Scott W.T. McNamara, Ph.D.
University of Northern Iowa

Lisa Silliman-French, PhD.
Texas Woman’s University

Valda Morgan, Ph.D.

Tammy L. Stephens-Pisecco, Ph.D.


Specially designed physical education (PE), also known as adapted PE, is frequently provided by an adapted physical educator. Adapted physical educators are unique, as they need knowledge about both PE and special education curricula (Kwon & Block, 2014). However, students with disabilities are not provided appropriate PE services. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, U.S.C. § 300.108, 2004) requires students with disabilities to have access to specially designed PE to meet their unique needs as determined appropriate by the individualized education program (IEP) team. However, it has been well documented that many barriers prevent effective adapted PE service delivery to students with disabilities (Government Accountability Office [GAO], 2010). Some barriers are associated with local special education administrators and special educators. The purpose of this article is to highlight the existing barriers for students with disabilities and offer possible solutions.

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