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Special Education/PE for autistic children in grades 4/5


I am being asked to teach special day class students (autistic)  physical education. I have a regular ed credential and a Supplemental PE credential...NOT adaptive PE. I have no formal training for teaching these children and find myself frequently lost. Do you know if it is legal under Ed codes in California for me to be teaching these children by myself?  I am overwhelmed! Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.

There is no certification for adaptive PE, although it would be a good idea.  Because of that there is no legal reason a district can't have a PE certified teacher teach the course.  However, if those students have IEP goals in adaptive PE, you would need Special Education endorsement to be the "teacher of record."  

My take is that the school is not violating the law, but not really caring about the overall education of students with some unique needs.  At a minimum they should provide you with some training and support for this a part of those disabled children's education.  

Here are a couple of websites with potential activities:

There seem to be a lot of resources on the web, I searched "Adapted PE for Autistic Children."

I would talk to your administrator about getting some assistance...perhaps the teacher of the autistic children has some insight.


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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,

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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