Adapted Physical Education and (Possibly) Me

Janine Calmes, PT, MS                             
TxSpot Support        

Have you been asked to assess a student for adapted physical education and thought, “Is this really my role?” 

Although it is not unheard of for therapists to be asked to provide adapted physical education in Texas, physical therapists and occupational therapists in Texas may begin receiving more referrals to evaluate students for adapted physical education. This is a great way to advocate for the physical, recreational and leisure needs of students with disabilities as well as assist with ensuring a quality education.


 Texas House Bill 440, which went into effect May 23, 2015, makes it clear that the physical education (PE) needs of ALL students must be met, including students with disabilities who are served by special education. Students must be included who have special needs that preclude them “from participating in regular PE instruction, but might be able to participate in physical education that is suitably adapted.”  Needs for adapted PE (APE) instruction should be based on a comprehensive evaluation and included in the student’s individualized education program.

Occupational therapists and physical therapists are among the personnel identified in the Texas Education Code as able to evaluate for and provide APE. OTAs and PTAs working under appropriate supervision are also listed as appropriate for providing APE instruction. The Code specifies that PE curriculum “must be sequential, developmentally appropriate, and designed, implemented, and evaluated to enable students to develop the motor, self-management, and other skills, knowledge, attitudes, and confidence necessary to participate in physical activity throughout life.”

The Texas Education Code states that PE curriculum must: 
  • emphasize the knowledge and skills capable of being used during a lifetime of regular   physical activity;
  • be consistent with national physical education standards;
  • include moderate or vigorous activity at least 50% of class time;
  • offer students an opportunity to choose among many types of physical activity in which to   participate;
  • offer students both cooperative and competitive games;
  • take into account the effect that gender and cultural differences;
  • teach self-management and movement skills;
  • teach cooperation, fair play, and responsible participation in physical activity;
  • promote student participation in physical activity outside of school; and
  • allow physical education classes to be an enjoyable experience for students.
TxSpot will bring you more information on this issue, including evaluating for APE, as it becomes available.

For more information about HB 440 and adapted PE, check the following links: