Students learn adapted physical education

December 14, 2015
Adaptive Physical Education

PLATTEVILLE, Wis – At the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Tim Swenson, physical education instructor, emphasizes the importance of learning adapted PE to his health and human performance students focusing on education.

APE is the process of creating a specially tailored physical education program for students who have a disability, and Swenson believes it is very important for future teachers to learn about.

“This program is crucial,” Swenson said. “Many school districts are looking for teacher candidates who have experience working with students with special needs when hiring them as physical education teachers.”

Students who partake in this learning opportunity work with students who have various special needs. Since 2012, Swenson has offered the opportunity to UW-Platteville students to learn how to tailor physical activities to the needs of students who attend the Wisconsin Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Janesville, Wis. Over the last three years, students taking the course Teaching the Exceptional Child in Health and PE have visited WCBVI with Swenson four times. Students attending WCBVI have visited UW-Platteville three times and utilized the Pioneer Activity Center.

“It is important for APE teachers to correctly modify games or activities they are doing with students so they can be successful and gain valuable knowledge,” said John Morrissey, a senior health and human performance major from Crystal Lake, Ill.

There are other APE programs available at UW-Platteville such as an adaptive swimming program called Adapted Aquatics. Through this program, students from eight local schools who have special needs are taught how to swim by UW-Platteville students who are taking the course.

Audrieonna Runde, a senior human health and performance major from Cassville, Wis., participated in Adapted Aquatics.

“I will never forget the students I worked with because their effort was amazing and their love for the water changed their attitudes into positive ones,” Runde said. “I hope to provide my future students the opportunity to experience aquatics and bring them back to UW-Platteville to participate in the swimming program.

“Our program at UW-Platteville is unique,” Swenson said. “Other state universities require that PE majors declare a separate minor to receive APE classes. Our program is comprehensive in that all the APE classes are built into the students’ curriculum.”

The teacher education students within the health and human performance major are certified in PE, K-12 grade health and APE by the time they graduate.

Written by: Sara Newquist, University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194,


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