Developmental Adapted Physical Education

Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) programs assist children to develop lifetime skills in fitness; motor patterns; aquatics; dance; and individual and group games, sports and recreation. The whole student (physical, social, emotional, cognitive) is considered when developing programs for students who qualify for DAPE.

This educational support system is provided for students with disabilities who cannot safely or successfully participate in physical education activities. MN certified teachers of DAPE recognize the individual differences of learners and emphasize a continuum of growth and physical development during class. Through individualized instruction in a carefully planned program of diversified activities, students develop greater degrees of social independence, physical wellbeing, emotional stability and problem solving abilities. The instruction may take place in the school or community setting.

The individual needs may be met using the following methods:

  • Determining the pace of instruction
  • Providing appropriate independent and guided practice
  • Modifying equipment, intensity, duration and type of activity
  • Using a full range of instructional techniques and communication modes
  • Placing students in the least restricted environment which may include: general PE, small group, and/or individual programs

Qualifications for DAPE

  1. A student (3-21 years of age) is eligible for developmental adapted physical education when the special education team determines the student has an identified disability of: autism, deaf/blind, developmental disability, emotional or behavioral disorders, hearing impaired, specific learning disabilities, intellectual disability, severely multiply impaired, other health impaired, physically impaired or visually impaired. Based on his or her performance on a standardized test, it may be determined that the student needs specifically designed physical education instruction. An appropriately licensed DAPE teacher must administer the test(s).
  2. The special education team can utilize two of the following to determine if the student needs specifically designed physical education: motor skill checklist, informal tests, criterion-referenced measures, deficits in achievement related to the defined curriculum, medical history or reports, parent and staff interviews, systematic observations, and social, emotional, or behavioral assessments.
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