Barriers and facilitators to inclusion in integrated physical education: Adapted physical educators’ perspectives

Justin A. Haegele, Wesley J. Wilson, Xihe Zhu, Justin J. Bueche, Ellie Brady, Chunxiao Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While movement toward the education of students with disabilities in integrated physical education has now become common internationally, it is not without concerns. Notably, scholars have questioned whether instruction in integrated physical education settings provides inclusive experiences for students with disabilities. The purpose of this exploratory study was to explore certified adapted physical educators’ (CAPEs’) perspectives on barriers and facilitators to students with disabilities experiencing inclusion in integrated physical education. A sample of 99 CAPEs (74.7% female) across the United States provided valid responses to an online survey form. Guided by the established two-step coding protocol, two independent reviewers coded the responses to open-ended questions. In total, 460 barriers and 473 facilitators that fell into seven categories were identified. Among these, both teacher-related barriers and facilitators were more commonly reported than other factors, such as environmental and policy barriers/facilitators. As such, it appears that the participants placed onus on ensuring the inclusiveness of integrated physical education classes largely on the shoulders of the teachers. In addition, codes related to programmatic or equipment-related factors were underreported, suggesting that even in integrated physical education classes where adapted equipment (i.e. equipment facilitator) and personnel support (i.e. programmatic facilitator) are available, inclusive experience may not be. These findings suggest inclusiveness of integrated physical education is complex and influenced by numerous factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-311
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adapted physical educator
  • Enabler
  • inclusivity
  • preventer
  • views

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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