Exploring Challenges in Teaching Physical Education to Students with Disabilities


  • Cathy D. Lirgg
  • Dean R. Gorman
  • Michael D. Merrie
  • Cole Shewmake


IDEA, barriers, inclusion, adapted physical education


This study investigated the preparedness and perceptions of PE teachers who instruct children with disabilities in PE settings. In addition, collegiate physical education departments were queried concerning their adapted offerings. Teachers rated their undergrad experiences, difficulty including students with disabilities, and barriers that might affect inclusion. Teachers felt that their undergrad experiences were least adequate for teaching children with autism. The greatest barrier was large class sizes. About half of the colleges surveyed felt that their classroom and field experiences preparing students to teach individuals with disabilities were inadequate. The findings suggest that undergraduate teacher preparation should include ample instruction and experiences.  

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