Adapted PE Programming for the Autism Population

Learn How to Effectively Teach Children with Autism in Physical Education

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It was a very well laid out class with valid and practical/implementable points! Terrific job Eric! I learned a great deal! - Sherri O.

This course will take approximately 8 hours to complete. If you have any questions about the course, please email us at "[email protected]".

Need to get your Professional Development Credits approved by administration? Download the course description to provide them here.

Target Audience:

This course has been designed for general and adapted physical education teachers working with ages 5-18. As the core content focuses on scalable program variables, all aspects of programming can be modified to meet the needs of students at any age or ability level.

Course Purpose/Objectives:

The purpose of the course is to provide a contingency-based model for developing and implementing appropriate, effective fitness programs with the autism population in 1-to-1 and group/class settings. The course provides protocols for assessing physical, adaptive, and cognitive abilities as they relate to physical activities.

Course objectives:

  • To understand the importance of physical fitness and Adapted PE for the ASD population
  • To understand and identify common gross motor deficits
  • To understand adaptive/behavioral complications and their impact on enganging in fitness activities
  • To address cognitive deficits including receptive language skills
  • To gain a working knowledge of the convergence and distinctions between Physical, Adaptive, and Cognitive Functioning
  • To gain a working knowledge of appropriate and effective warm-up/mobility exercises
  • To gain a working knowledge of appropriate and effective dynamic movement exercises
  • To gain a working knowledge of appropriate and effective strength/stability exercises
  • To understand appropriate progressions and regressions of exercises in each area of programming
  • To account for individual differences (physical, adaptive, cognitive) within class enviroments
  • To understand basic principles of program development for groups/classes

Course Description:

There are often barriers to implementing fitness and adapted PE programs for the autism population. In order to do so successfully, instructors must understand and appreciate physical, adaptive, and cognitive functioning as they relate to movement activities.

This course addresses the specific considerations for each area of ability and provides strategies for designing and implementing programs for groups/classes. Not only does this course address how to structure an adapted PE class for students with ASD, but strageties to enhance physical performance, on-task behavior, and contingeny-based learning.

Reading Materials:

All reading materials are available to download in the form of PDF files from within the course module.

Viewing Materials:

All videos will be available to download/view from within the course module. Some of the videos available to view are:

  • Course Introduction
  • Understanding the PAC Profile™
  • Common Physical Deficits among the ASD Population
  • The importance of Scaling: Progressions and Regressions
  • Effective Exercise Selection: Warm-up/Mobility
  • Effective Exercize Selection: Dynamic Movement
  • Effective Exercise Selection: Strength/Stability
  • Effective Exercise Selection: Games and Preferred Activities
  • Considerations for Positive Behavior Support
  • Assessing Physical Ability in Group Settings
  • Programming the Warm-up/Mobility Phase
  • Programming the Strength/Focus Phase
  • Programming the Games/Preferred Activitiy Phase
  • Positive Behavior Support in Group Settings
  • Putting the Concepts and Practices Together: Conclusion

Course Design/Schedule:

This course is designed in a way to present each area of ability (physical, adaptive, cognitive) as a necessary consideration and component of programming. As students progress through the course, they will gain an understanding of the interplay between these factors. By the end of the course, students should be able to select appropriate progressions and regressions of each exercise, and develop an individual or group program using the flow chart process.

Need to get your Professional Development Credits approved by administration? Download the course description to provide them here.

Your Instructor

Eric Chessen
Eric Chessen

When just beginning his career as a fitness trainer over fifteen years ago, Eric had the opportunity to develop fitness programs for teens on the autism spectrum and undergo high level ABA training both clinically and academically. As he became increasingly dedicated to working with this unique population, Eric found a near-total lack of information concerning best practices and approaches when creating fitness programs for those with autism.

Steadily, and over the course of a decade working with hundreds of athletes who had significant variance in their ability levels, he began to create the outline for Autism Fitness as a business and mission; providing not just fitness programs, but effective and reliable fitness programs for every individual with autism and related disabilities. Autism Fitness was to serve as a bridge between the professional fitness and autism communities (families, educators, and therapists).

Today, with his athletes, the Autism Fitness Toolbox, and the Autism Fitness Certification (Levels I and II), Eric continues to build a gateway towards a more optimal, independent future for the ASD community and future generations. When not working with his athletes he is either in the gym, playing outside with friends, or reading. For more info on Autism Fitness go here:

Check out Frequently Asked Questions Here!

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