Special Education/Special Ed Teaching


Hello, Mr. Bishop!  I am a special education teacher for adults with intellectual disabilities.  Every day, this class of 35 intellectually disabled adults takes a trip to a gym for an hour where we have access to basketballs, soccerballs, and hand weights.  I am out of ideas for fun games and group physical activities for these students, as they are all relatively high-functioning adults but still vary in their degree of disability.  Could you please give me some ideas of games and/or physical activities I could try with these students, and/or recommend a book or resource that might do the same?  I have searched tirelessly on the internet and am coming up short.  Thank you so much for any help or suggestions that you may have!

Thanks for serving our disabled adults.  I began my career thousands of years ago, or so it seems, working in a sheltered workshop for developmentally disabled adults.  I had such a good time that I got my master's in special education, but, I spent most of my career in higher functioning learning disabilities.  I did stay active in special Olympics and I am wondering if having your physical education directed toward special Olympics might help you with ideas.

An example is this PDF for what is termed the TRAIN program, http://media.specialolympics.org/soi/files/resources/StriveAndTrain/TRAINSchoolE, which may provide you with some ideas.  Another of my favorite sites, http://recreationtherapy.com/tx/txdd.htm, focuses more on recreation, but you may have already tapped this resource.

When I was creating these activities, I used my regular Elementary PE textbook, then adapted the activity so that all could participate.  I suspect that will always be the case.  I also tapped local recreational activities as much as I could.  For example, every Friday we went to a bowling alley and bowled, followed by a grocery store outing, where we bought to cook, returned to the facility and prepared our own mean from the grocery purchase.  Thursday, we made a list of things to purchase from the sales ads in the newspaper...when the weather was good we made a little "miniature golf" course in our outdoor section of the facility...it wasn't much, but was sure fun.  We also had a high net and played altered volleyball #catch and throw instead of hit#.  Our community was pretty active with a University, so we made a deal to use the University's swimming pool #later as a SE administrator our local YMCA gave pool time for our DD students#.  

It is nice that you have a gym to use with all those supplies.  I would think of normal games that you would play with children, then adapt them to allow all to participate.  Such things as Dodgeball, bowling #if you can get some plastic pins#, kickball, adapted volleyball #if you have a high net#, races like you run in youth group activities, and so on...

If you had to take a PE methods course, go back to that text book, or check the text book section of major publishers and see if there is a book full of ideas that you could adapt activities from...

I wish I could be more help, but I hope this has stimulated your brain!


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Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

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