Inclusive Physical Education

It can be challenging for physical education teachers to effectively include students with special needs into their classes. Here are a few strategies to help ensure that all students are able to participate in physical education:

Organization and Management

  • Be sure the space is free of hazards
  • Put special needs students near the front when explaining instructions
  • Provide opportunities for exploration and allow adequate practice time
  • Group students by mixing ability levels- do not put all special needs students in one group


  • Be sure the equipment is age appropriate for age and size
  • Use different types of balls or equipment that are easier to manipulate and/or less threatening
  • Deflate balls to slow the activity down
  • Increase/decrease the size of the target to meet individual needs

Activity Modifications

  • Limit the size of the play area
  • Change or simplify the rules of the game to equalize abilities
  • Allow for different skill levels within the same activity; kick a stationary ball instead of a pitched ball
  • Designate a space for each student, when needed, such as using a spot, carpet square, hoop etc

**Remember to address each student’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) as well as their individual needs and seek out help to expand your knowledge about working with special needs students.

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  • concerned professional

    Wow....This sure is a simplified version of how to include children with special needs in your physical education class. If it were that easy, parents of special needs children would not complain that their child is left out! If you are going to address and issue like inclusion, be sure to do it justice.

  • Mmm51

    Agree 100% It's almost laughable really. It's almost as if the person who wrote this has never worked with special needs children.

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