Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Adapted Dance

This podcast was dedicated to learning more about adapted dance within the physical education curriculum. This episode guest starred two brand new PhD students at the University of Wisconsin Madison- Heather Katz and Laura Prieto. Both of these guests have had extensive experiences incorporating adapted dance units into the physical education curriculum in order to allow children with disabilities access to dance. Within this conversation, we discuss what is adapted dance, how one can incorporate it into their physical education curriculum and include students with disabilities, and the impact of adapted dance on students with disabilities. 

Within the podcast conversation, Heather Katz discusses how she was able to bring a renown Zumba instructor with Down syndrome to the school district she used to teach at. Below is a video that briefly describes Yulissa Arescurenaga journey to becoming a certified Zumba instructor. 

Heather Katz also has a YouTube channel where she has created adapted dance routines. Many of the dances on this channel demonstrate adapted Zumba routines. 

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Paralympic school day: A new way to grow disability awareness

Welcome to the blog portion of the What's New in APE' podcast platform! In this episode we highlight a Paralympic school day model that is an "educational program that aims to create awareness and understanding in schools about persons with an impairment" (International Paralympic Committee, 2019). Within this episode we will talk with stakeholders from universities, K-12 schools and a wheelchair basketball team that implement Paralympic school days at both universities and public schools. More specifically, we will discuss how these stakeholders got involved in this program, how the program impacts students with and without disabilities' perspectives, and how someone else could get bring this model to their own school! 

Along with this podcast, we wanted to share some additional resources that explain and highlight the Paralympic School Day model and help someone develop and implement their own Paralympic School Day! 

-The International Paralympic Committee website explains the original premise of this program and has specific activity cards that give stakeholders the ability to bring this model to their own schools.

- Here is a video from a James Madison University Kinesiology course that shows a Paralympic Skills Lab in practice!  

- Here is an article that discusses the impact on future teachers from bringing in Paralympians and local wheelchair athletes to teach these students a new sport and a new perspective on disability. 

One of the panelist, Cathy McKay, an assistant professor at James Madison University, has also published several research articles on the impacts of implementing a Paralympic school day. Please check out a few of them using the links below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Social Justice in Adapted Physical Education

It is essential to recognize and celebrate all of our students and each of their own personal identities.
This means that physical educators, like all educators, must make a conscious effort to welcome students
of various backgrounds. This podcast focuses on the social justice within the field of adapted physical
education (APE). Social justice is often defined as in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society, and for this podcast we discuss these concepts in relation to APE. More specifically, we discuss how one would be able to create a more inclusive and accepting class culture, barriers to social justice in a physical education setting, language use and social justice, and how to deal with inappropriate language and actions. 

This podcast features a panel of 3 guests, including Dr. Josephine Blagrave (@blagraveaj)Chico State University; Dr. Kerri Vanderbom from The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability and Chico State University; and Dr. Andrew Colombo-Dougovito (@amcdphd) from the University of North Texas. You can find out more about Dr. Colombo-Dougovito's research and interests through visiting his website

Friday, July 5, 2019

An Interview with Paralympian Jessica Heims

Hello APE podcast listeners and welcome to another episode/post on the What's New in APE platform! For this episode, Paralympian Jessica Heims was able to meet with me and discuss her journey to the 2016 Paralympics, as well as her current journey to the 2020 Paralympics. Furthermore, within our conversation, we discussed her training regimen, how she got involved within track and field, her physical education experiences, and obstacles to getting to the Paralympics.

Jessica is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa (the university I teach at!). She also currently competes on the University's track and field team as a discus thrower and sprinter. Furthermore, Jessica recently broke two world records in discus throwing. You can see the video here. To learn more about Jessica's background, you can read this article from Disabled Sports. In addition, you can follow Jessica on Twitter @Jessie_Heims

Monday, June 24, 2019

Reflections from the ISAPA Conference

Hello everyone and welcome back to the What's New in Adapted Physical Education (APE) podcast/blog page! Recently, I was able to attend the International Symposium of Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA) conference at the University of Virginia. For this episode I simply made a brief reflection about my experience at the conference. More specifically, I highlighted some of the keynote speakers and presentations I was able to experience, international perspectives in the field of adapted physical education/activity, and some information about the next ISAPA conference in Finland in 2021. If you are interested in the 2021 ISAPA in Finland, check out their website at

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Adaptability: A Business Delivering APE Across the Chicago Area

Hello APE podcast listeners and welcome to another episode/post on the What's New in APE platform! For this episode, I was able to sit down with Charlie Rowe, the founder and owner of the company 'Adaptability', which is a private business that provides APE services to students with disabilities in school settings.. Adaptability is a company based out of Downers Grove, IL and focuses on ensuring the safety and success of students with disabilities in their general PE or APE curriculum. They offer a wide variety of services to ensure children of all abilities receive quality PE. Their most popular services include: APE classes, Consultation and Coaching to PE teachers and support staff, Professional Development training.
Adaptability was created by Charlie Rowe after seeing a large need for quality physical education services for students with disabilities across Illinois. From a young age Charlie has enjoyed helping/assisting people with disabilities. Charlie has provided a wide variety of APE services to 70+ schools in his tenure. These services include the teaching of self-contained and Reverse Inclusion APE classes, providing Coaching services to PE teachers and support staff, Professional Development training as well as program improving consultation services. 

Adaptability currently provides direct Adapted Physical Education classes to more than 320 students in 17 schools across Chicago area, with large growth expected in the next 16 months.
To learn more about Adaptability or inquire about joining our team, check out their website at

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Physical Education v. Adapted Physical Education: A collaboration Part 2

Hello and welcome to the blog portion of the What's New in APE' podcast platform! This is part two of a two part series where we are discussing how the field of APE works within the field of PE. In addition, this episode is very special because this episode will once again, also be featured on Playing with Research in Health and Physical Education. If you’re interested in other episodes from Playing with Research in Health and Physical Education, you can stream the podcast on a variety of platforms here. 

The main focus of this episode is the divide between physical education and adapted physical education, and how we as researchers can potentially help to bridge this gap. Dr. McNamara and a panel of 3 experts in physical education discuss what they perceive the divide to be in both research and practice, as well as potential solutions to overcome the divide.

 This episode features a panel of 3 experts in Physical Education.

 Risto Marttinen, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University, Fullerton. His background is in Curriculum and Teaching in Physical Education. In addition, Risto Marttinen is the host the podcast Playing with Research in Health and Physical Education.

 Kevin Andrew Richards, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His background is in Physical Education and Teacher Education.

 Terry L. Rizzo is the Department Chair and a Professor and in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, San Bernardino. Rizzo has an extensive background in APE, including acting as the current editor of the Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly (APAQ).