Adapted PE Conference

Antino Land dances at the 2013 Arizona Adapted Physical Education Conference at the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center for Persons with Disabilities in Phoenix on Thursday, Feb 7, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Nearly 20 students from Mountain Pointe High School gave spectators a glimpse into their daily physical education activities on Thursday at the Arizona Adapted Physical Education Conference in Phoenix.

Performing about 12 demonstrations of adapted-exercise activities on the floor of the Virginia G. Piper Sports and Fitness Center, the students were the only high school to present activities “in action.”

“What we did here is a typical day, there’s a lot of human movement,” said Phil Abbadessa, physical education department chair at Mountain Pointe.

The students performed light-weight lifting, stretches, group jump ropes, hurdles, played flag tag, and even danced during the presentation. Some activity stations were labeled for the audience and the students often rotated between activities.

Adapted physical education is modified physical activities appropriate for those with disabilities or special needs. Though Abbadessa said it’s really “not that different.”

“The one thing I try to do with these kids is bring some happiness in their day, when they leave our class, we want there to be something they enjoyed doing,” Abbadessa said.

Noting that his students’ self-esteem has grown since the beginning of the school year, Abbadessa said he was proud of them and their willingness to display the activities for others.

Keith Dobbs, one of Abbadessa’s students, admitted he was nervous before going out on the gym floor Thursday.

But once he got out there, accompanied by his classmates and a handful of volunteers, Dobbs said he had fun, especially liking the flag tag game.

The physical activity program at Mountain Pointe features a four-, five- and six-part lesson that is broken up into activities that focus on both health- and fitness-related components. Students work in groups as well as doing individual skill work. The Adapted Physical Education Course meets the graduation requirement in the district for physical education.

But more than the logistics, Abbadessa said he makes it a point to get to know his students and ensure their enjoyment of being active.

“I get to see them every day, and if we can bring a smile to their face and they enjoy physical activities,” Abbadessa added, “they are likely to continue exercise throughout their lifetime.”

For more information about the conference, visit

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

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