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Adapted Physical Education 

Description of Program

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 the person without a disability. Adapted Physical Educators plan services, assess individuals, prescribe programs, participate in IEP meetings, teach, coach, evaluate services, coordinate resources, consult, collaborate, and advocate (From Adapted Physical Activity, Recreation, and Sport: Crossdisciplinary and Lifespan, Sherrill, C., 2003, McGraw-Hill Publisher).

The purpose of our Adapted Physical Education program is to prepare future adapted and general physical educators to meet the physical, motor, personal, social, and learning needs of children with disabilities in the public schools. Emphasis is placed on direct service to children with severe disabilities, consultation to general physical educators, as well as, the development of skills and attitudes necessary for successful inclusion of students with disabilities in general physical education.

The Adapted Physical Education curriculum offers course content in disabling conditions, assessment, teaching methods, and program development. Classroom sessions are coordinated with field-based practicum experiences in the public schools and other community-based programs.

The Adapted Physical Education minor is designed for students that want to learn about teaching, learning, and curriculum as it relates to individuals with disabilities in the public schools. The Adapted Physical Education minor is open to Physical Education teaching majors and licensed Physical Education teachers. Completion of this minor (24 credits) with a Physical Education teaching major meets the requirements for Adapted Physical Education certification in Wisconsin (Certification) ( The curriculum is grounded in theory, current research, and practice. Coursework in the Adapted Physical Education minor addresses the Adapted Physical Education National Standards (

Required Courses: KINS 484, KINS 487, KINS 493, SPED 200, SPED 306

Choose 9 credits from: CDIS 378, SPED 210, SPED 324, SPED 330, SPED 403, SPED 421, SPED 460

Career Opportunities

Demand for Adapted Physical Educators continues to be steady. Most adapted physical educators are employed in K-12 school systems but some are working in early childhood education centers, assisted living residences, community parks and recreation programs, and outdoor recreation programs. Students who choose the adapted physical education certificate program have greater marketability because of the trend in education to provide more inclusion of students with disabilities in general physical education.


Students can earn a certification in Adapted Physical Education, which is recognized by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction ( The Adapted Physical Education Certification program is designed for students interested in teaching physical education to students with disabilities in both specially designed and inclusive settings. It is offered to Physical Education majors only. A teaching major in Physical Education can obtain an Adapted Physical Education Certification with up to 6 additional credits.

Required Courses: KINS 484, KINS 487, KINS 493, SPED 200, SPED 210 or 306

Reference Sites

Other Information