Developmental Adaptive Physical Education (D.A.P.E.)

Developmental Adaptive Physical Education
The Developmental Adaptive Physical Education instructors provide direct instruction to students in cooperative schools through individual or small group classes. The instructors are also available for consultation, observation, and/or evaluation of students.

Teachers, counselors, the school nurse, parents or other school personnel refer students for evaluation. Placement in the program is based on evaluation results, the student’s health record, and/or participation in regular gym activities.

The program is designed to enable all students to receive maximum benefit from the physical education program. Individual or group classes are set up to assist each child to acquire the maximum physical, mental, emotional, and sociological development through specially selected and controlled physical activities.
Developmental adapted physical education (DAPE) is physical education, which may be adapted or modified to address the individualized needs of children and youth ages three through 21 having gross motor developmental delays. DAPE may include development of physical fitness, motor fitness, fundamental motor skills and patterns, skills in aquatics, dance, individual and group games, and sports. This service should include the following:

  • Assessment and instruction by qualified personnel means that professionals are prepared to gather assessment data, and provide physical education instruction for children and youth with disabilities and developmental delays.
  • Accurate assessment data, including diagnostic and curriculum-based data collected by qualified personnel.
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) Goals and Objectives / Benchmarks are measurable and objective statements written by the DAPE specialist. The goals and objectives are reflective of the physical education instructional content and monitored/evaluated according to district policy, to ensure that goals and objectives are being met in a timely manner.
  • Instruction in a Least Restricted Environment (LRE) refers to adapting or modifying the physical education curriculum and/or instruction to address the individualized abilities of each child. Adaptations are made to ensure that each student will experience success in a safe environment. Placement is outlined in the IEP and may include one or more of the following options:
    • The general physical education setting
    • The general physical education setting with a teaching assistant or peers
    • A separate class setting with peers
    • A separate class setting with assistants
    • A one-to-one setting between students and the instructor

For all practical purposes, Adapted Physical Education is developmentally appropriate physical education at its finest. It is adapting, modifying, and/or changing a physical activity so it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability.

Students with conditions such as obesity, temporary injuries, and short-term or temporary illness or disabilities are termed special needs students. Special needs students are not eligible for developmental adapted physical education: special education. Provisions and modifications for these students must be made within regular physical education as described in Minn. Stat. §126.02 (Minn. R. 3525.1352, subp. 1).


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