The Advocate

Spring 2022


Our Quarterly Update

Welcome everyone!

Spring is here in New England! For those who have endured the long winter, the splash of spring color and warmer weather provides a renewed energy to our lives. It might also include the onslaught of allergies and insects-however a small price to pay for the longer, light-filled days.

This newsletter provides information on our summer conference which will be held remotely on July 14th-16th. With a myriad of both practitioner-oriented and research sessions, the conference will be a great venue for reconnecting with friends and colleagues.  Register early by June 15th and save $25.  The student member registration rate is $25 before July 10th.

The NCPEID Executive Council and the Board of Directors also want to congratulate our new members. Welcome aboard to Pamela Haibach-Beach, Alex Stribing, Adam Pennell,  Andy Pitchford, Ross Jordan, Amanda Young, Suzanna Dillon, and Sally Midiema. The EC and BOD would like to thank all who offered to serve NCPEID.  

Also in this issue, Tim Davis, our APENS Chair recognizes one of our new CAPE members for her heroic efforts protecting her young students. Read the story below.  Amanda Young and Melissa Bittner from the Membership Committee provide information on the success of the APE Collaborative and Deborah Shapiro, our research chair offers an update on research happenings at NCPEID. Keep reading and you will find a wonderful piece from a parent member on her experiences, hopes, and values for students with disabilities in physical education. 

Finally, please take a few minutes to review our revised by-laws for the upcoming year which includes the addition of a social media position. As an organization, NCPEID welcomes your contributions and feedback. If you are not currently a member and would like to join or renew, please click here

In health, 

Michelle GrenierNCPEID

President 2020-2022



The National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPEID) will be hosting a virtual 2022 NCPEID Annual Conference on July 14-16, 2022 on Whova. The conference format will include mainly live presentations, with a few pre-recorded presentations followed by live Q&A sessions. To register, click here.

New Officers to the Executive Council and  the  Board of Directors

NCPEID leadership is excited to announce the results of the 2022 election. Those elected will begin their duties at the New Board Meeting in July at the Annual Conference.

APENS Updates!

Tim Davis, APENS Chair, SUNY-Cortland

Celebrating CAPE’s!  The NCPEID would like to recognize Amber Rylak (New CAPE from Sarasota, FL) for recently passing the APENS exam.  Amber signed up last year however just prior to taking the exam Amber was involved in defending her 2nd grade Physical Education class at Emma E. Booker Elementary School from an intruder!  As noted in the article link below, Amber confronted a school intruder and successfully held off the large (250 lbs plus) man from entering her gymnasium.  As the intruder screamed repeatedly “They are going to kill me”, Amber was able to safely lead the children to their classroom and close the door just as the intruder tried to enter.  Amber (small in size and big in spirit) was able to hold the door and keep the intruder at bay until police arrived!  One can only imagine how scary and frightful the situation for Amber and her students must have been!  Needless to say, we are very proud that Amber – a newly nationally Certified Adapted Physical Educator (CAPE) has joined the ranks of so many others and is now a member of the NCPEID.  

Congratulations Amber and thank you for your bravery!

Here is a link to the full story!

APENS Research Updates! 

 Several research studies surveying the National CAPE database have been disseminated via email in the last few months. If you participated by responding to one or more of the surveys the NCPEID/APENS consortium membership appreciate your efforts and input!  Results of research projects will now be posted to the NCPEID web site.  Visit the NCPEID web site for updates.     

Call for Presenters!  

May and June are often proposal deadlines for state and national conferences.  If you are interested in presenting APENS related content or APENS updates in your state or at interested conferences, please reach out for APENS data and or APENS related content.  

Information!  For more information on how to become nationally certified visit our web site at www.NCPEID.ORG/APENS or contact:


Timothy D. Davis, Ph.D., CAPE



Deborah Shapiro

Georgia State University 

Scholars across the USA are often interested in research questions intended to help inform professors and K-12 teachers on topics related to adapted physical education, inclusion, assessment, behavior management, pre-service teacher training, curriculum development, APE practicums, service learning etc. NCEPID in collaboration with APENS offers opportunities to recruit professors and CAPE’s as participants for your research projects.  A formal application to solicit the NCPEID membership is available to all NCPEID members through the website. Please reach out to the Research Chair with any questions. [email protected]


Amanda Young & Melissa Bittner

California State University, Long Beach

NCPEID’s APE Collaborative

Thank you to everyone who joined in as we launched our new APE Collaborative this past academic year! The NCPEID Membership Subcommittee worked hard to connect with members and discuss current topics and trends related to adapted physical activity and education. The APE Collaborative hosts experts in the field who are invited to speak on a specific topic while viewers are able to join and interact with one another. Speakers typically present for 15 minutes with a short question and answer session to follow. Viewers can join live (NCPEID members are sent a reoccurring Zoom link), Facebook Live, or review the recording on the What’s New in APE Podcast.

In September, Dr. Garth Tymeson (Emeritus Professor UW- LaCrosse) provided insightful discussion about the recent Dear Colleague Letter indicating related services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy) can not be substituted for APE. Dr. Tymeson urges APE professionals to educate and advocate for our field. You can find copies of this letter along with other letters on our website. Dr. Ali Brian (Associate Professor, University of South Carolina) provided research tips to improve APE manuscripts. Dr. Brian’s tips are helpful in designing research projects and sharing information with the field. 

October’s APE Collaborative featured Dr. Suzanna Dillon from Texas Woman's University and Chair of NCPEID's Advocacy committee who discussed Advocacy Strategies for APE Programs. Her co-presenter, Brad Weiner, APE Educational Specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools, provided information on Teaching Tips from a National APE TOY. Brad’s resources and tips can be found on his website. 

In November, Dr. Luis Columna from the University of Wisconsin-Madison discussed the importance of family in promoting physical activity of individuals with disabilities. Dr. Columna shared his current research project, Fit Families and is continuing to provide essential collaboration with families. Following the discussion, there was a time to chat with APE colleagues regarding hot topics and issues in the field.

December’s APE Collaborative focused on assessment. Dr. Dale Ulrich from the University of Michigan discussed the validation process of the Test of Gross Motor Development, 3rd edition (TGMD-3, 2019) and eligibility decisions. Tonya Moore from the Los Angeles County Office of Education shared information about the Curriculum, Assessment, Resources, and Evaluation Revised edition(CARE-R2, 2014) assessment, including testing procedures, protocols, and scoring. Assessment continues to be a prevalent topic in APE, we will continue this conversation in upcoming collaboratives. 

The February collaborative featured grant writing topics with Dr. Rebecca Lytle from Chico State University and Danielle Musser from Montrose County School District, CO. Dr. Lytle discussed OSEP funding for higher education programs and encouraged faculty to submit proposals to increase the number of highly qualified APE teachers across the United States. Danielle shared tips and tricks to secure funding for her APE program in Colorado. Danielle, the sole APE professional in her district, raised over $130k for her APE program in the last 8 years.

March’s APE Collaborative hosted an international panel of experts in the field of APA. The panel included experts include Dr. Hayley Morrison, Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, Dr. Aija Klavina, Professor at Lithuanian Sport University in Lithuania, Dr. Kwok Ng from the University of Limerick in Ireland and University of Eastern Finland, and Dr. Michelle Grenier, President of NCPEID and Professor Emerita from the University of New Hampshire. Panelists discussed the field of physical education including services & programs, inclusion and support, and how these compare from a North American context to a European context.

In April, Dr. JK Yun (East Carolina University) & Dr. Justin Haegele (Old Dominion University)  discussed selecting doctoral programs in APA/E. Drs. Yun & Haegele shared the importance of mentorship and collaboration in successful graduate programs. Following the discussion, there was a time to chat with APE colleagues regarding hot topics and issues in the field.

Our final collaborative of the academic year was in May and featured Dr. Monica Lepore, from West Chester University, and Ann Griffin, retired APE teacher and consultant from Grant Wood Area Education Agency in east central Iowa. Dr. Lepore shared information about adapted aquatics including legislation, certifications, equipment and best practices. Ann discussed the challenges and lessons she’s learned from her 40 years of experience teaching APE in the field, with great equipment ideas and resources. 

If you want to catch up on past collaboratives, you can find them on our website here, and on the podcast: What’s New in Adapted Physical Education link here. We will be back with new topics and speakers in the Fall. If you have any recommendations on future guests or topics, please share here. See Table 1 for NCPEID APE Collaborative social media views for Academic Year 2021-22. 


The revised by-laws have been approved by the BOD and the EC. The by-laws includes information on our new social media position, and that, if approved at the annual business meeting during the conference, we will be seeking nominations to fulfill the role for the 2022-2025 Election cycle.

Seeking Nominations for Interim Research Chair

The NCPEID Executive Committee and Board of Directors will be soliciting nominations for a Research Chair to serve for the remainder of the 2021-2023 term. The vote for this position will take place during the Annual Business Meeting at the virtual conference in July. Nominations will be accepted via email and from the floor during the Business Meeting.

To nominate yourself or another NCPEID member via email, please contact Michelle Grenier ([email protected]) or Deborah Shapiro ([email protected]). Please include contact information and a biosketch (250 words max). Those interested in serving must hold an active NCPEID membership to be eligible if elected. For more information about the tasks and duties of the research chair, please visit Article VII, Section 3 of the NCPEID bylaws (click here for NCPEID governance page). 

Please take a minute to review these by-laws and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

News from our partners at NCHPAD

Downloadable Toolkit and Graphics

Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence is important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing a variety of health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, depression and anxiety and many others. This April, NCHPAD wants to share our NEW video on the benefits of inclusive PE classes. Join us in sharing the suggested messages below because #MovementMatters!

What we’re sharing:

*NEW* How Inclusive Physical Education in School Benefits All Students
o    Link:

News from our colleagues at the International Federation for Adapted Physical Activity (IFAPA).

The ISAPA 2023 site is live ( and maybe start preparing for this. The event needs volunteers, scientific presentations in New Zealand, as well as global local ISAPA events. Therefore, if people are interested in running local one day events in coordination with ISAPA 2023, they should contact [email protected] (cc-ed) with the subject of Local event hosts for ISAPA 2023.
Follow the hashtag #AdaptedResearcher to find the latest research outputs in Adapted physical activity and education. Feel free to continue this trend by posting this hashtag on new publications relevant to the field.


Our final piece for the newsletter provides a poignant reminder from one of NCPEID's members on the challenges faced by parents. As an advocacy organization that supports students with disabilities and their experiences in physical education, we appreciate the perspectives of all of our members. 


Nanci Bentley-Parent Advocate

Hello, my name is Nanci Bentley, and I am the parent of a 11-year-old beautiful, happy, courageous boy who was born with a rare chromosomal disorder called Pallister Killian Syndrome. His name is MJ and while his learning curve is not considered average, he still continues to thrive in all areas with the right accommodations and adaptations. He is considered 100% dependent and needs full time support. He has a very detailed Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with a classification of Deaf Blindness. This is a combined sensory loss of vision and hearing. He uses a wheelchair, gait trainer, bike, and many other devices for support. MJ currently attends a 12:1:1 classroom and a general education class and is in an adapted physical education (APE) program within a general education setting. Our journey has brought us many places. We have found ourselves having to ask many questions, do research, and advocate fiercely for what our son needs. Not only do we advocate for his needs, but we advocate to be understood as parents. 

I am not alone in my advocacy efforts. One example occurred last summer at a swimming party I hosted mothers with children such as my son. Oftentimes, there are several emotional conversations when we get together.  One of the mothers shared how her son dislikes having to stay after school to get his physical education class. Her son uses a walker and tires easily at times. Hearing this, my ears perked up and I asked for further clarification. She explained the school said he had to stay and walk the hallways in his walker after school to work on his APE goal. He was told he could not attend physical education with his peers as it was determined the setting was not appropriate for him because the school did not have anyone to  assist him in class. I asked if there were other options, and the mother responded that there were no other options. That is what the school told her. 

As a parent, I find this very heartbreaking for several reasons. Her son was being removed from his class because the school is not able to provide support. He was excluded from making meaningful friendships and experiences with his peers. More damaging is that we are teaching others (teachers and students)  that it is acceptable to exclude. Why couldn’t he be supported in the class with the help of para-educators, an adapted physical education specialist, or a related service providers such as a physical therapist who may be able to help him achieve his APE goal?   As I was listening to her story, I watched her son swim with other children in the pool, socially interacting, throwing balls around, taking turns, and enjoying himself. We have to ask ourselves how these types of decisions are made and why are they acceptable? 

My immediate response to the mother was that his removal from physical education had to stop. I told her I was sad to hear this was happening to her family. I was sad  that this was ok for the school to do. I asked myself whether this was considered  legal under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and was an alternative educational setting discussed?

My friend ended up meeting with the school team again and her son was eventually integrated  into his physical education class. As is often the case, the question of safety in the physical education setting became a topic. From my experiences, there is a fine line between safety and Dignity of Risk. Safety is a consideration for all students. All too often, the environment does not support or accommodate the student’s needs and, as a result, is excluded from participating in a way that is meaningful for the student. 

Had this mother not mentioned it to me or  other mothers at the pool, she would have just accepted the school’s decision even though her son felt bad. I want to believe that we create a mindset where everyone is going to make the best decision for our children. I have learned that is not always the case. Some of these reasons include  lack of training and knowledge of  resources ( Aides, teachers, finances, equipment), not enough time, mindset the child belongs to  “someplace else”, narrowed vision, and a culture that lacks an environment that welcomes diversity and empathy. The disability does not exclude, the environment does.

I vowed to my beautiful son years ago that I would never settle for “because that is what they told me….”. It took a few times for that to happen for me to realize that if it does not feel right or the best option, then it is not. I encourage every parent to do the homework or find resources that can help you. Parents/ Caregivers are vital to the IEP team.  

We have had many professionals give us guidance that has enhanced my son’s educational journey. I hold the professionals to the highest respect and expectations that work with my son but we also work as a team to identify the best path. We learn from each other. Being understood and heard as a parent is invaluable. We as parents are often met with a feeling of begging for our children to be accepted let alone educated. 

There are wonderful Educators that touch the lives of many. There are times Educators are left to do what fits because of systemic barriers. We are grateful for every Educator that sees the potential in our children and finds a way to make great things happen. More often than not I hear the relationship between the parent and school team is met with barriers. In my opinion, communication breakdown is where it begins. This leads to misunderstanding and the focus is taken off the child’s true needs. Often Families and/or  Educators are not given the whole picture which impedes what might be possible. This is why it is so important for the entire team that works with the students to attend the IEP meeting to include the PE teacher.  In my opinion, this is the only way to capture information to identify and create an impactful education plan for the student.

 Some providers have said they don’t have much input, but I see this collaboration as an opportunity to learn about the student. I go to my son’s meeting seeking quality information, not quantity. Sharing different viewpoints could open opportunities we never knew existed. While I know there are regulations that surround the Special Education process, there should always be an ethical duty to the child. 

My hope is that one day there will be a collective consciousness so that parents know they have a say about what is best for their children. 


 Interested in joining NCPEID. Click here

Contact Info:

Michelle Grenier-NCPEID President

[email protected]

 National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities