What is Adapted Physical Education?

Physical education classes teach us much more than the importance of an active life and a healthy body; they teach us from an early age how to interact, how to compete in a fair manner, and most of all, how to collaborate with others in order to win or achieve great results. Unfortunately, not every child can enjoy the wonder of running around, playing games and sports, and laughing freely with the other children; this is why adapted physical education was created, and in what follows we are going to take a closer look in order to better understand what it is and what it deals with.

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Adapted physical education is the science, some would even say art, of creating a physical education program for someone with disabilities, whether they are physical or mental impairments. This type of physical education has to not only create a special activity regimen, but deal with implementing it and monitoring the children or learners of a sport or game. The physical education program has to be comprehensive, meaning it has to start by taking into account the learner’s impairments and challenges, and try either to create a routine that they can perform, or one that challenges them into performing something a bit more difficult, but which helps them invaluably.

It has been stressed and overstressed that these new generations of children no longer have the right amount of physical activity, something which is very necessary for physical and mental development. But what about the children with disabilities? Wouldn’t they too benefit in one form or another by taking physical education classes, or taking up a sport? The answer is a definite yes, and there are many people with disabilities who have improved their condition considerably thanks to a more active lifestyle. This is what adaptive physical education tries to achieve, but unfortunately there aren’t resources to do this everywhere.

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Special schools for children with learning or physical disabilities have to make programs like these available for them; not all children would benefit from such a program, but it takes a few professionals to decide when a child would benefit from physical education as well. The program they follow has to be adapted to their own needs and limitations, and they always have to be guided and helped by a special teacher who knows how to teach them and how to prevent them from injuring themselves. Finally, adaptive physical education can refer to various fitness exercises that the child or youth has to perform, or even to organized games where multiple players participate.