Adaptive Physical Education Among Students With Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities

Fernan R. Santillan, Adventist University of the Philippines,
Mary Joy V. Ballaran, Adventist University of the Philippines,
Hope B. Ariate, Adventist University of the Philippines,
Elmie Lynn V. Lagajino, Adventist University of the Philippines,


Introduction: Engaging in physical activities could be very challenging to people with disabilities. This study explored the challenges, opportunities, and insights of or students with disabilities (SWDs) involved in Physical Education (PE) classes. 

Methods: This phenomenological study utilized SWDs enrolled in AUP. Six SWDs who were enrolled in adaptive PE classes during the academic year 2018-2019, recommended by their teachers, and have physical disabilities that are not the same with any of the participants were chosen through purposive sampling. Data were gathered through interview questions validated by the experts. The interview was recorded, translated to English, and analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Results revealed that the participants with feet deformity, amputated right arm, squint eye, right peripheral vision loss, Blount’s disease, and muscle dystrophy have difficulty performing the regular tasks in the PE classes. The alternative tasks like downloading steps in aerobics, researching a formation in marching, and being the scorer and referee, were not easy. They could not do the same activities together since they had different physical disabilities. This difficult situation, however, gave them opportunities to gain self-confidence and determination to finish the tasks despite their limitations. It also gave them the opportunity to discover their potentials and other skills. As a result, their insights enabled them to think of their friends, teachers, and families who encourage, support, and cheer for them to finish the given tasks. The participants took their situations positively and gratefully accepted God’s leading in their lives. 

Discussion: There is a need for the PE department to maintain adaptive PE for SWDs in PE 1-4 to enhance the students’ self-confidence. Teachers also need to develop a module with differentiated instruction and activities that can help students with varied disabilities. 

Keywords: PWD, disabilities, adaptive physical education, sports

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