DAPE Information

Purpose and Focus of DAPE

Physical education contributes to the total development of every child through the natural medium of human movement and physical activity. As physical education is an integral part of the educational program, it contributes to the intellectual, social, emotional and physical needs of each child. A carefully planned instructional program of sequential learning experiences designed for the attainment of outcomes will produce a physically educated person.

A Physically Educated Person:

  • Has learned the skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities;

  • Is physically fit;

  • Participates regularly in physical activities;

  • Knows the implications and the benefits from involvement in physical activities;

  • Values physical activity and its contributions to a healthful lifestyle. (NASPE)

Developmental Adapted Physical Education

Developmental Adapted Physical Education provides an educational support system for students with disabilities who cannot safely or successfully participate in physical education activities. Developmental Adapted Physical Education recognizes the individual differences of learners and emphasizes a continuum of development. Through individualized instruction in a carefully planned program of diversified activities, students develop greater degrees of social independence, physical well being, emotional stability, and problems solving abilities.

Developmental Adapted Physical Education is a special education service area defined by two areas of instructional support.

The term Developmental focuses of the outcomes to be achieved as a result of participation in the physical education program. The development of each student's unique physical, social, emotional and intellectual needs is considered in determining instructional experiences necessary to achieve the desired outcomes.

The term Adapted focuses on the individualizing the instructional process. Individualizing instruction meets the unique individual needs of each student. The individual needs may be met through the following options or alternatives:

  • Selecting the setting and environment;

  • Determining the pace of instruction;

  • Providing appropriate independent and guided practice;

  • Modifying equipment;

  • Limiting the intensity and duration of activity participation;

  • Modifying procedures and policies to insure appropriate instruction;

  • Using a full range of instructional methods, techniques and communication modes;

  • Individual or small group instruction;

  • Team teaching;

  • Instructional support assistants.


Students who are identified as needing assistance to participate sagely and successfully in the physical education program may or may not have an identified disability. Specific services and the service delivery system are determined by the individual student needs.
Students with special needs who are not disabled as defined by special education law and rule may require a modified physical education program. Special needs conditions include but are not limited to obesity; low physical and motor fitness; recovery from illnesses and injuries. Educational support services are provided by the regular education program.

Students identified as having a disability, as defined by special education rule may be eligible to receive Developmental Adapted Physical Education. The disability must adversely affect the student's educational performance. Eligibility is determined by the performance standards established in Minnesota criteria for special education service.