Special Education/Physical therapy goals


My son gets pt. I asked for goals related to physical education. They said goals can
Only be related to strengthening and safety. Is this correct? Previous Pts worked on ball skills
And he got pt as a service bc pt said he was behind in gym skills. What can I do
They just say no. They have one pt goal just one and it's kind of meaningless

Dear Lisa,

Thanks so much for writing to me!  To answer your specific questions, I will write them and answer them.  Then I will invite you to expand your advocacy to include more specialized instruction and related services for your child.  

The school team says goals can only be in certain areas.  That is not correct.  Goals can be individualized and should be individualized.  Ask for the written policy whenever you hear 'we don't do that'.  PT goals can be a wide variety of areas that are required for your child to access curriculum and make progress in the general education curriculum.  So it will be important for you to know the physical education curriculum so that you can know what the demand is, and work backward to see where your child needs goals.  

Also, it is critically important that the IEP is based on assessments and classroom data and information.  So if you don't have a current evaluation in this area (PT, physical education, adaptive PE), please formally ask for them to be completed.  In my Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book, you will find a sample letter how to effectively request an evaluation.  Or, you can obtain a private evaluation and the school must consider it.  

But perhaps your child needs adaptive Physical education services.  Maryland does a nice job explaining this in this manual:

APE is a service designed to assure a child's access to the PE curriculum.  Without knowing more about your child, the nature of your child's disability and how this area affects him, I am not sure I can provide more meaningful information.  But I am happy to answer a follow up question if you'd like to give me some more specific information.  

I hope this answer helps you to start the school year off well and continue advocating for your child! I wish you all the best!  

Special Education

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.