I. Common Disabilities (Defined and Described)
The American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR, 1992) defines a person as mentally retarded when the following three criteria are met: cognitive level (IQ below 70-75), significant limitations exist in two or more adaptive skill areas; and the condition is present from childhood (age 18 or less).
- Cognitive learning - area where students differ most
- Learn at slower rate
- Achieve less academically
- Exhibit same range but more frequently exhibit inappropriate responses to social/emotional situations.
- Do not fully comprehend what is expected of them in social situations
- Delayed development of physical skills
- Usually overweight because of less activity levels
Teaching Strategies for individuals with mild retardation:
- Put individual in less demanding sport position
- Overteach the cognitive information
- Emphasize fitness activities
Teaching Strategies for individuals with severe retardation:
- Emphasize range of motion exercises
- Have individual propel himself as much as possible
- Concentrate on postural righting activities
- Use resistance training with therabands
- Concentrate on vestibular activities
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Definition: A condition that describes students who display hyperactive behaviors, have difficulty attending to the task at hand, and tend to be impulsive.
- Inattention, poor listening skills, and restlessness
- Onset before age 7
- Inappropriate excessive motor activity
- Highly structured environment
- Reduce teaching space
- Control extraneous stimuli
- Larger number of activities, shorter time on each
- Positive behavior modification program
- Use brief instructions
Definition: Classic autism is defined as a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before age 3.
- Impairment in social interaction
- Impairment of verbal and nonverbal communication
- Restricted, repetitive, and stereotypical patterns of behavior, interests, and activities
- Impaired imitation
- Lack of awareness of the existence of feelings of others
- Absence of imaginative activity
- Use a consistent behavior modification program
- Teach in a less stimulating area
- Use an established routine with repetitive transition strategies
- Use a predictable routine
- Be consistent in use of terms, equipment, and class organization
- Use vigorous aerobic exercise to reduce self-stimulating behavior
Definition: A condition of disruptive or inappropriate behaviors that interferes with a student's learning, relationships with others, or personal satisfaction to such a degree that intervention is required.
- Poor coordination
- Refusal to practice
- Loss of emotional control
- Noncooperative Behavior
- Disorientation in space and time
- Remove distracting objects
- Impose limits on use of equipment and facilities
- Use games of social interaction
- Expect aggressiveness and monitor it closely
- Use activities that provide immediate feedback
Definition: A disorder of movement and posture caused by a defect in the developing brain.
- Primitive reflexes are still evident
- Slow to develop postural reflexes
- May have the following:
- Mental retardation
- Speech problems
- Oculomotor defects
- Hearing and vision loss
- Work on muscle stretching
- Develop range of motion
- Develop postural alignments
- Use ramp climbing
- Work on gait training
Definition: An overall term that includes all levels of vision loss, from partially sighted to complete blindness.
- Physical fitness is below those of sighted peers
- Balance development is impaired
- Fundamental motor patterns and skills are delayed
- Physical growth and maturation may be impaired
- Wide variation in residual vision
- Use other sensory modalities for providing information
- Use games for social development
- Use a beeper, constant sound source, etc.
- Place students where they can best hear instructions
- Use contrasts between figure and background
- Increase or decrease the grade to indicate play boundaries
- Begin new game in slower motion
Definition: An overall term that includes all levels of hearing loss, both deaf and hard of hearing.
- Balance may be affected
- Information processing time is longer
- Physical fitness may be lower
- May be a delay in social/emotional development
- Speech can range from intelligible to none
- Make sure the student can see your lips when you talk
- Use visual demonstrations
- Coordinate your communication method with the rest of the IEP team
- Learn basic signs and use them
- Use captioned videotapes
- Stand still when giving instructions
Definition: A disability in which the individual possesses average intelligence but is substantially delayed in academic achievement.
- Poor spatial orientation
- Figure-background problems
- Rhythmic problems
- Problems with body awareness
- Difficulty with motor proficiency
- Work on body/space problems with action songs, games, mirrors, and tactile activities
- Work on balance and upper/lower body coordination for motor proficiency
- Work on obstacle courses for spatial orientation
- Use brightly colored objects for contrast
- Give opportunity for rhythmical problems
II. What is Adapted Physical Education?
Change the word "adapted" to "modified" and you have the idea of Adapted Physical Education. It is GOOD teaching which adapts (modifies) the curriculum, task, and/or environment so that ALL students can fully participate in physical education.
Federal law (PL 94-142, PL 101-476, PL 105-17) mandates that physical education be provided to students with disabilities and defines physical education as the development of:
- physical and motor skills,
- fundamental motor skills and patterns (throwing, catching, walking, running, etc). and
- skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports).
For all practical purposes, Adapted Physical Education IS developmentally appropriate physical education at its finest. It is adapting, modifying, and/or changing a physical activity so it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability.
The APE teacher is a direct service provider, not a related service provider, because special physical education is a federally mandated component of special education services [U.S.C.A. 1402(25)]. This means that physical education needs to be provided to the student with a disability as part of the child's special education. This is contrasted with physical therapy and occupational therapy, which are related services. These therapies are provided to the child with disabilities only if he needs them to benefit from instruction.
III. Adapted Equipment Resources
Flaghouse Special Populations
Flaghouse's equipment catalog features a variety of items for teachers and therapists of students with disabilities. The selection includes gross motor equipment, riding equipment, aquatics, switches, and sensory stimulation items.
Flaghouse, Inc. (800) 793-7900 firstname.lastname@example.org
601 Flaghouse Drive
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604-3116
17700 West Capitol Dr.
Brookfield, Wi 53045
Communication Aids for Children and Adults 414-352-5678
6625 N. Sidney Place
Milwaukee, Wi 53209
Rifton Equipment 800-777-4244
PO Box 901
Rifton, NY 12471
Sportime Catalogs (Abilitations and Chime Time) 800-477-5075
One Sportime Way
Atlanta, Ga 30340
Pedal Pal 1-888-PEDAL PAL
140 Plastics Rd.
PO Box 321
Corry, Pa 16407