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 Adapted Physical Education


What is Physical Education?

  • Physical and motor fitness
  • Fundamental motor skills and patterns
  • Skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports)
  • Includes special physical education, adapted physical education, movement education, and motor development


Georgia State Board of Education Rule Health and Physical Education Program Plan

GaDOE Health and Physical Education webpage​

​​What is Adapted Physical Education?


Adapted Physical Education is physical education that 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.

Adapted Physical Education may also be referred to as specially designed physical education, special physical education, or developmental physical education.

Teacher helping a student in a wlaker kick a ball  in PE class. 



Physical education services, specially designed if necessary, must be made available to every child with a disability receiving free and appropriate public education, unless the public agency enrolls children without disabilities and does not provide physical education to children without disabilities in the same grades" (P.L. 108-446, Sec. 300.108(a)).

​Physical Education is a special service

It is important to know that adapted physical education is a special education service, not to be confused with a specific placement or specific setting.
Therefore, specially designed physical education (adapted physical education) may be provided in a variety of settings such as:

  • The General PE Class (with the Special Education Teacher)
  • Small-group physical education
  • One-on-one physical education​
  • Home, Hospital, Institution, etc.

How is the need for adapted physical education determined?

If a student with a disability is not making adequate progress within the general physical education curriculum, requires adaptations to the curriculum, requires additional supports to participate (e.g., paraprofessional support, modifying the curriculum, etc.), or modifications to assessment processes, then the student should be accessing adapted physical education services. 

Are students with disabilities that do not qualify for special education services protected by mandates?
Students with disabilities including those who do not qualify for special education services are guaranteed reasonable accommodations for equal opportunities to participate in physical education programs under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Students who require special services or “reasonable accommodations" under Section 504, will have an accommodation plan (rather than an IEP).  This plan will serve to document the accommodations necessary for physical education participation.

Students should never be denied access to physical education or adapted physical education services. ​

Additional Information:

  • Physical education is not a related service
Related services (services that may be provided to help the student benefit from special education services) such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and recreational therapy cannot be substituted for physical education services.​

Teacher Qualifications 

8.q.1 Adaptive Physical Education (P.E.)


  • In accordance with GaPSC CAPS In-Field alignment, teachers holding Health and PE Certification (P-12) are in-field to teach the content required for Adaptive PE.
  • In accordance with GaPSC Elementary Education Certification Rule 505-2-.55, in a P-5 class an educator certified in Elementary Education is in-field to teach specialized areas such as health and physical education.

Webpage: Professional Qualifications & ESSA In-Field Reporting

​Course descriptions provided by GaDOE for Adaptive PE state that these courses are provided for students with IEPs and in lieu of general physical education courses. This is a direct service.

Questions or Concerns about qualifications for Teaching Adapted PE contact:

Karen Cliett (

 General Information


Wina Low
State Director,
Special Education Services and Supports

Paula Gumpman
Program Specialist


Therese McGuire
Health and Physical Education Program Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction

Health and Physical Education (


The Adapted Physical Education National Standards             
The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD)

PE Central Adapted Physical Education Resource Page

IDEA and Adapted PE Sept 21a.pdf

Adapted PE September 2021.pdf