Adapted Physical Education
May 7, 2001, Vol. 3, No.10



Thank you for visiting the "Adapted Physical Education" section on PELINKS4U. Hopefully this section will provide you with useful information.

This month's topic is transition, a concept dear to my heart. As an educator of children with disabilities, my terminal goal is to facilitate successful student participation in community leisure, recreation, and sports. And, it is hoped that the student will participate as independently as possible. The transition to lifetime physical activity is imperative for individual physical, emotional, cognitive, and social growth for all populations. If you have any comments or additional resources on this topic I welcome your input.

Kristi Roth [editorial]
Carol Huettig, Ph.D.
Section Editors

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 Steps to Transition

Transition should be addressed at an early age. Determining the leisure, recreation, and sports interests of the family is the building block to transition. At the elementary level the fundamental skills leading to those activities can be developed.

For example, if the family enjoys bike riding, the child can begin to develop balance on a balance ball, practice riding a Big Wheel or a therapeutic tricycle, or even learn to ride in a bike buggy safely and patiently. Modifications can be developed for the identified activity and given to the family as a fact sheet for their use. Also, local buggy accessible bike trails can be identified for the family.

Cross-curricular goals can be included by developing a bike path in the gym including stop signs, stop lights, cross-walks, railroad crossings, and mileage points. Bike safety can be included in the physical education and classroom instruction.

On the middle and high school level, the family and the student should identify at least two community physical recreation activities of interest and begin to practice those skills directly. The basic skills should be identified and mastered along with participation in the whole activity. Eventually, the student should practice the activity in the actual community setting, with decreasing levels of assistance.

Ideally, instruction and practice will be given addressing transportation needs. This can be incorporated into the vocational education of the student. Gaining the skills to utilize public transportation is often included in vocational training. Directions on what buses to take to a local recreation facility can be infused into that training.

  Therapeutic Recreation

The specialized skills of a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist can augment the skills of the Adapted Physical Educator. A qualified TR can be a tremendous asset. Ideally, the school district would hire a TR consultant to collaborate with the Adapted or General Physical Educator in the provision of transition services. Realistically, the majority of school districts do choose to go that route. It is important to recognize the tremendous contribution the TR specialists can provide. Although APE and TR see themselves as very distinct fields, they can be quite complementary to develop 'best practice' in transition. For more information relating to the role of Therapeutic Recreation in public schools, visit Project T.R.I.P.S..

To find a Therapeutic Recreation professional in your area visit the Therapeutic Recreation Directory.

  Great Find

The National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY) has a wonderful online publication describing transition and and its place in the law. Transition Services and the IEP answers the questions, "What are transition services?", "When must school districts begin providing transition services?", "Who will determine what services are needed?", "Who will provide transition services?", and "Where will the services be provided?"

To investigate the collaborative roles of all individuals involved with the student and his/her transition needs, NICHCY also published Transition Planning: A Team Effort. This resource provides descriptive information regarding the development of a transition plan, finding community resources, and transition team members. It also clearly identifies the necessity of transition planning for recreation and leisure needs!

Freedom and Strength

In the final analysis it is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.

- Ann Landers -

Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only your share, and sought advantage over no one.

- Robert Brault -


The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has a Division on Career Development and Transition. This is a valuable resource offering publications, workshops, and training modules on transition. An online publication is Transition-Related Planning Instruction, an Service Responsibilities for Secondary Special Educators. This fact sheet identifies promising practices for transition, divided into five categories. These include Student-Focused Planning, Student Development, Interagency Collaboration, Family Involvement, and Program Structures and Policies.


The ARC of the United States offers a wonderful publication describing suggestions for Supporting Children and Youth with Disabilities in Integrated Recreation and Leisure Activities. This resource would be a wonderful fact sheet for participants providing community accommodations. It can also be given to families and peers as guidelines for facilitation of participation!

 Contribute YOUR Ideas

If you have ideas, comments, letters to share, or questions about particular topics, please email one of the following Adapted PE Section Editors:

Carol Huettig
Kristi Roth
John O'Connor
Cindy Piletic

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 Community Organizations

There are many community facilities that offer recreation opportunities. Get acquainted with the operators of local bowling centers, miniature golf facilities, parks and recreation departments, driving ranges, and movie theaters. Many shopping centers offer indoor walking hours. 'Mall walking' is a great indoor activity that provides an opportunity for socialization! Offer a community recreation Wall of Fame in your gym, providing recognition for facilities who encourage your students' participation by providing easy access, financial support, and/or social support.

Additionally, check to see if there is a local YMCA, YWCA, or Boys & Girls Club. These are great facilities to develop lifetime fitness skills. Finally, check into your local Special Olympics program.

  Independence is Inspiration

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

What the man, in his kindness and haste did not understand, was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were nature's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If nature allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as what we could have been.

And we could never fly...

  Transition Resources

Jankowitz, W. & Cort, RH.  (1999)Transition planning: Will your child be ready for life after high school? Exceptional Parent, September, 83-84.

Piletic, C. (1998) Transition: Are we doing it? Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, 69 (9): 46-50.

Hasazi, SB; Furney, KS & Destefano, L. (1999). Implementing the IDEA transition mandates. Exceptional Child, 65(4):555-566.

Minnesota Individual Transition Plans on-line

Stopka, C. et al. (1999) Transition skills for wellness. Teaching Exceptional Children.
Jan/Feb 6-11.

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