My design process started when I was introduced to heavy work training and sensory integration a year ago when I was completing my APE authorization hours. Interestingly enough, I did not hear about this in my program, but rather from another APE teacher who helped mentor me. I began to think about how I wanted to shape my APE program to best meet the needs of my students. IEP goals was the obvious place to start. I wanted my students to have the foundation to more efficiently meet their IEP goals while simultaneously improving their overall gross motor skills.
Each participating student in APE has current goals and objectives outlined in their IEP (Individual Education Plan). Students were assessed on their present abilities to create a baseline for the action research. It is challenging to measure gross motor skills in real-time; therefore, it is standard practice to use video to critique performance and review the skills. Goals are typically worded to allow multiple opportunities with a specific success rate. Each APE goal is unique to each student and their needs. A rubric was used to score the skills outlined in their IEP to determine the level of performance at the beginning of the research. These measurements were collected at the beginning of the action research and again two months later and then compared. After implementation of Heavy work training during the students’ APE sessions, a post-examination of the students’ performance on their IEP goals was conducted to see if a change occurred.
Helping students develop self-confidence is a huge part of APE. Teachers promote abilities that encourage self-reliance both inside and outside the classroom. Designing this process was more difficult than measuring gross motor skills. This took more background research and I ultimately decided to create my own survey that made the most sense to my class. Surveys were created for both students and their teachers. I thought that it would be interesting to get both the student and teachers perspective. They both took different surveys because they both serve different roles.
Students in Adapted Physical Education have disabilities that oftentimes affect their ability to effectively motor plan. My goal is to help these students build a foundation that allows them to navigate gross motor skills more efficiently while also helping them build self-confidence through heavy work training. My students enjoy physical activity and take advantage of a 1-1 or small group setting where they are able to try new exercises and workouts in a judge-free and supportive environment. Most of my APE students realize that they need extra support and appreciate the time carved out bi-weekly for them.