IEP Process for APE
Adapted Physical Education Defined
As per the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), adapted physical education is a special education service, meaning specially designed instruction; adapted as appropriate to the needs of an eligible student, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the student that results from their disability; to ensure access of the student to the general education curriculum, so that the student can accelerate toward and/or meet the grade-level educational standards. Adapted physical education is the service that addresses the physical education content including the development of physical and motor fitness; fundamental motor skills and patterns; and skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramurals and lifetime sports).
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, 34 C.F.R.300.39(b)(2) specifically includes physical education under the definition special education as “specially designed instruction, as appropriate to the needs of the eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability”.
Adapted Physical Education (specially designed physical education) is Special Education and should follow the same guidelines, policies, procedures, and regulations.
Students may not be exempt or waived based on having a disability or health condition. IDEA 2004 requires that students with disabilities receive physical education services, specially designed if necessary.
Students should not be taken out of general physical education or receive specially designed physical education unless they are found eligible for adapted physical education services and it is prescribed in the child’s IEP.
Physical education is a direct service (Academic Area) and can be a stand alone area on the IEP. This means the physical education teacher or adapted physical education teacher can be the case manager of the IEP, when the student doesn't have a cognitive delay. This typically occurs for students that have orthopedic impairments and where the student's needs can not be met in a 504 plan. Related services (occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision services, etc.) can not stand alone and need a direct service in at least one area to have an IEP.
The process of universal observation to collect data that will facilitate decisions and foster appropriate instructional practice for all students.
The screening of a student by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation shall not be considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services.
Referral Process / Authorization for Assessment
Choosing the Tools to Use
Observation as Part of the Evaluation Process
(a) The public agency must ensure that the child is observed in the child’s learning environment (including the regular classroom setting) to document the child’s academic performance and behavior in the areas of difficulty.
(c) In the case of a child of less than school age or out of school, a group member must observe the child in an environment appropriate for a child of that age.
Timeframe to Conduct the Evaluation
Parent Fails to Give Consent or Refuses to Respond
Students with an identified disability should be found eligible based on multi-confirming data sources.
A standardized assessment tool that has been determined valid and reliable.
Plus one or more of the below examples
Teacher observation of the student's performance in physical education
Daily Anecdotal notes
Eligibility is determined when the students performance is directly impacted by the identified disability is either
2 or more years below the child's chronological age
25% or greater discrepancy between the child's chronological age and the age equivalency
1.5 standard deviations or greater below the mean
Evaluation Report Templates
Sample Formal Assessment Write-ups / Blank Forms
Developing the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
Guide to Effective & Appropriate APE Services on the IEP
The IEP process can be confusing for parents.
To the left is a guide for parents and other professionals to support a better understanding of adapted physical education and what is indicated on the IEP. It supports in guiding parents questions to ask.
The typical parts of the IEP that address physical education
IDEA (2004) requires that all IEP team members attend IEP meetings unless provided written permission from the parents.
To the left is a sample blank excusal form.
Delivery of Services
A continuum of adapted physical education services provides students the opportunity to receive instruction in the least restrictive environment (LRE). LRE is defined as providing instruction to students with disabilities in the general education setting to the maximum extent appropriate. Students with disabilities should only be removed from the general education setting when they are unable to achieve a satisfactory education in that environment with supplemental aids and services based on the nature and severity of their disability (20 U.S.C. 1412 (a)(5)(A) Special Education).
A strong preference within Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004, is that students with disabilities are educated in the least restrictive environment. The lowest level of restriction to an environment is the neighborhood school in the general education setting. Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) means to the maximum extent possible, each student with a disability must be educated with students without disabilities. This is unless the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in the general environment with the use of supplementary aids, program modifications, supports, and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Therefore, general physical education should always be considered as the first placement option. The flow chart below illustrates methods of delivery of service.
*Note: Some areas throughout the country provide unique learning settings that may not be listed on this sheet. It is important to explore the learning opportunities and settings provided in your specific local education agency (district, county, township, school).
A short paragraph describing the specific gains/difficulties the student is demonstrating towards attaining his/her goal and objectives. The reported information is based on formative (ongoing) data collection.
Progress is typically documented
4 times per year for K – 12th grade
2 – 3 times per year for Pre-school
Progress is typically marked by one of these indicators:
Making Sufficient Progress
Not Making Sufficient Progress
Newly introduced skills
Not yet Introduced
If progress is not occurring, the IEP team should reconvene to review and if necessary revise the goal. Some areas have a process of recording interim progress reports to monitor this situations.
Re-evaluation / Triennial IEP Meetings
At least every 3 years, the IEP team must meet to discuss continued eligibility for special education services.
During the planning meeting, the team members will:
Review prior reports
Discuss present levels of performance
Discuss if any dramatic changes have occurred to impact student performance
Consider if there are diagnostic questions that would warrant formal testing to occur.
If no team member has a diagnostic questions regarding if the student continues to be eligible for special education services under the currently identified disability; the team can move into a determination meeting.
If a team members does have a diagnostic question and is in need of updated testing, parental authorization for assessment will be requested.
Team members administering a test will have 60 days from the signed authorization to conduct the assessment and reconvene for the determination meeting.
Sample diagnostic questions:
The student has been showing wonderful improvements. Does the student's performance continue to be impacted by his/her disability and does he/she continues to have the performance gap for eligibility for adapted physical education services?
The student has been in the hospital for the prior month followed by receiving interim instructional services (home and hospital services) for a period of time. Has the student's time missed had an impact on his present performance level? Testing will be conducted to gain updated data on student performance.
If no team members conducted an assessment, the team typically moves from a planning meeting into a determination meeting (but it is not ideal). The determination meeting (review of the results) must occur with in 90 days of the signed permission.
If testing occurred, those team members who conducted the assessments will report their results and the IEP will be amended or updated as necessary to address the current needs of the student.
Those who conducted an assessment will provide their recommendations for the IEP team to discuss.
Blank Re-evaluation Planning Meeting Report