Introduction to IEPs
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for Physical Education
School physical education programs offer the best opportunity to provide physical activity to all children and to teach them the skills and knowledge needed to establish and sustain an active lifestyle.1 Research shows that physical activity has a profound positive impact on health outcomes for all students including those with disabilities. Physical activity plays a vital role in a student’s physical, emotional, and social development. Teachers strive to provide students with lifelong experiences so they can live a healthy life. Despite the documented benefits of physical activity on health, students with disabilities face many barriers that exclude them from full participation in physical activity through physical education, recess, sports, and exercise.3
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is part of the educational process that allows students with disabilities to participate during physical education activities. Physical education and adapted physical education teachers are an integral part of the IEP team.2 Teachers support student development by stating goals, assessments, benchmarks, and objectives for physical education that are specific to the student’s needs. As the physical educator, you should be present in the meeting and take part in the discussion by suggesting accommodations that are age/ability-appropriate. This will help provide a safe, successful, beneficial environment for the student.
Unfortunately, in some districts, physical educators are not entirely involved in the process.2 For example, physical education teachers do not get access to their students IEPs or they are not invited to attend the meetings, even though they have expressed the desire to be involved in the process. We hope that this resource provides some guidance to physical educators to be able to navigate through the IEP process while making the biggest impact on their student’s health and wellbeing. The information presented in the roadmap could also help parents and other IEP members that are not familiar with IEPs.
1. Advanced Solutions International, Inc. (n.d.). Is It Physical Education or Physical Activity? Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.shapeamerica.org/publications/resources/teachingtools/qualitype/pa_vs_pe.aspx.
2. Ellen M, K., & Daggett, S. (2006). Getting involved in the IEP process. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 77(7), 35-39.
3. Murphy, N. A., & Carbone, P. S. (2008). Promoting the participation of children with disabilities in sports, recreation, and physical activities. Pedi
atrics, 121(5), 1057-1061.
4. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018