What Is Appropriate Physical Education for Students with Profound Disabilities?

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Martin E. BlockUniversity of Virginia

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What is appropriate physical education for students with profound disabilities? Some suggest a developmental model in which students learn prerequisite skills before they are exposed to higher level skills. Others suggest the use of specially designed games that often bear little resemblance to traditional physical education activities. Still others call for a therapeutic model in which physical education focuses on physical and occupational therapy techniques. While these models provide viable programming options for students with profound disabilities, alone they do not constitute an appropriate physical education program as defined in PL 94-142 (reauthorized as PL 101-476). In addition, current philosophies in special education for students with severe and profound disabilities call for programs that are chronological age appropriate, functional, data based, and taught in natural, community based settings. This paper provides an alternative view of what is appropriate physical education for students with profound disabilities by integrating the best aspects of the models described above with the current life-skills curricula model employed in special education.

Martin E. Block is with the Program Area of Health and Physical Education, Department of Human Services, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

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