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IDEA Definition of Special Education
20 U.S.C. § 1401

(29) Special education:

The term special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including – (A) instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and (B) instruction in physical education


What is Adapted Physical Education?

Adapted Physical Education is physical education which has been adapted or modified, so that it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability.

Federal law 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)
  • skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports)


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990) uses the term disability as a diagnostic category that qualifies students for special services. These categories include:

  • Autism
  • Deaf – Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Hearing impairment
  • Mental retardation
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairment
  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment including blindness

The services provided by an APE teacher include (adapted from Sherrill, 1998):

  • Planning services
  • Assessment of Individuals /Ecosystems
  • Prescription/Placement: The IEP
  • Teaching/Counseling/Coaching
  • Evaluation of Services
  • Coordination of Resources and Consulting
  • Advocacy

Weekly Adapted Physical Education Class: Students focus on learning skills for life-long activities that are available in their communities after graduation. Skills for sports in their community: Movement, Basketball, Bowling, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball. Fieldtrips for Bowling and Movement - Track and Field Special Olympics.

Weekly General Physical Education or Dance classes
: Adapted physical education teacher provides support ensuring students have access to modified equipment and activities in order to maximize social and physical involvement during GPE.

Achilles Kids Walking Program
: The Achilles Kids program motivates students to walk the distance of a marathon or more by the end of the school year. Outdoor and indoor courses have been measured out so that distances can be logged on their Achilles Walking Charts. Students who complete the marathon receive shirts and certificates.

Swim Program
: We have extensive community support from individual donors, PTA’s, and organizations with pools: YWCA (therapeutic 90 degrees), Gator Aquatics Center (no transportation needed for Fishburn Park and Madison), YMCA, and Green Ridge Recreation Center (no step entry, shallow area, hot tub, lazy river).

Elementary Schools
Kaitlyn Barackman  
[email protected]  

Middle and High Schools
Heather Landes-Hypes   
[email protected]

"Is treating everyone the same, treating everyone fairly?" -Dr. Martin Block

40 Douglass Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24012 Phone 540-853-2502