More Adaptive PE Teachers Needed for Students in Special Education

University of Minnesota Duluth Aims to Turn Out Licensed Teachers to Meet Demand

Federal law mandates that physical education be provided to students with disabilities. Although teachers aren’t required to be licensed in order to instruct adaptive physical education (APE) to students with special needs, it is still challenging for school districts to find qualified instructors trained to teach this specialized subject. In an effort to produce more APE teachers, the University of Minnesota Duluth is now offering a minor in APE, which will license more teachers in this specialty. Teaching lifelong exercise habits for this vulnerable population during their formative years is extremely important, especially when factoring the lack of physical activity programs available for adults with special needs.The sobering reality is that adults with disabilities are nearly 12% more likely to be obese and 9% more likely to have diabetes compared to adults without disabilities. A recent study showed that nearly half of children with autism aged 10 to 17 are overweight or obese, which makes physical activity even more important for those on the spectrum. 

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