Monday, May 23, 2016

What is APE?

Adapted Physical Education (APE) is modified activities and exercises for children with disabilities so the children can participate in all aspects of physical education or activities. Physical activity for people with disabilities has a tendency to be overlooked but in reality it is just as important as it is for able-bodied people. Benefits of APE include:

  • Physical domain: Motor skills need to be learned, practiced and reinforced.1
  • Cognitive domain: There have been studies that prove that physical activity has been proven to improve concentration in the classroom. This also leads to more brain stimulation because they are less likely to lose focus since they have been able to exercise and channel their energy.
  • Affective domain: APE is beneficial because it helps children with disabilities focus, and reduces the amount of outbursts or inappropriate behaviors. This is due to the fact that the students are being able to use PE as an outlet of stress, energy and restlessness.
  • Individualization: One of the most important aspects of APE is that each child can have different goals and areas that need to be focused on to improve the quality of life. Each activity can be modified to each student and their needs. In some cases APE classes are only a few students or one on one with the teacher.
  • Improved performance in general physical education: These students will also be able to use the knowledge and skills that they have learned in APE to apply them to general PE. Because they are able to learn and perform in the physical, cognitive and social-emotional domains.2 In any PE class or activity these students are introduced to winning/losing, conflict, and competition. In APE classes they will understand how to recognize and learn to control their emotions to the best of their ability.

One example of an APE modification is shown in the image above. I built 3 putt-putt holes and modified it by making the cups different sizes, providing different sized incline angles, and using a bumper behind each cup to help guide the ball. Other modifications were different types of putters and balls, we used hockey sticks and various sizes of wiffle balls.

In conclusion, APE is more than just one-on-one interaction with the teacher, these students will have the ability to use what they have learned and apply it to a general PE class. APE is much more beneficial than only to be limited as physical fitness, it is emotional, behavioral, and social stimulation as well.
1Logan, S. W., Robinson, L. E., Wilson, A. E., & Lucas, W. A. (2012). Getting the fundamentals of movement: a meta‐analysis of the effectiveness of motor skill interventions in children. Child: care, health and development, 38(3), 305-315.
2Tripp, A., Piletic, C., & Babcock, G. (2004). A Position Statement on Including Students With Disabilities in Physical Education.


  1. Really Enjoyed your post, you had insightful information on Adaptive Physical Education. I really appreciate the point you made about individualization because I believe that as Kinesiology Professional we must practice this in any avenue of the field we work in. Nice job!

  2. Great read Kristyn! I also enjoyed reading your post on APE. I agree with your statement, physical activity is just as important for a disabled person as it is for an able-body person. A child can benefit from the modifications not only in school, but also at home. Great job!