Adapted PLAY

What is Adapted PLAY?

Adapted PLAY is a modified version of PLAY basic that can be administered by a trained professional to determine the level of physical literacy in children and youth with disabilities. This tool was developed by Adapted Physical Activity experts in collaboration with a master’s student as part of their master’s thesis research. The Adapted PLAY tool assesses 5 key fundamental movement tasks (which can be completed with or without the use of a mobility device), including: 

  1. LocomotorTravelling to a stop
  2. Object ControlSending
  3. Object ControlReceiving
  4. Balance and Body ControlLift and Lower
  5. Balance and Body ControlDynamic Balance

Tasks from PLAYfun or PLAYbasic may be incorporated based on the abilities of the child or youth being assessed. The 5 Adapted PLAY tasks are not an exclusive list of tasks that should be used for all children and youth with disabilities and is intended to add to the existing repertoire of assessment tasks found in PLAYfun. For example, a child who uses a wheelchair may have full use of their upper body, thus it could be realistic for them to be assessed on upper body object manipulation tasks found in PLAYfun such as a one-handed catch or the hand dribble tasks.


We believe that by giving choices and options in what assessment tasks are appropriate for a child or youth with a disability based on their own unique physical literacy journey supports a more holistic approach to movement – exactly what physical literacy is all about.

Who can use Adapted Play?

Adapted PLAY involves the assessment of different movement skills, as well as decision making on what types of skills are relevant for assessment for children and youth with disabilities.  It is idea for an assessor to have some education in movement analysis and working with people with disabilities. This could include recreation therapists, NCCP-certified coaches, exercise professionals, physiotherapists, athletic therapists, other sport/ recreation practitioners and well informed parents.

Assessors must have the knowledge of the abilities of the child or youth they are working with to accurately assess their technique and identify gaps in skill development, as well as select what tasks are realistic for the child’s abilities. As not all assessment tasks are realistic for every child or youth with a disability, the selection of appropriate tasks becomes one of the most important components with Adapted PLAY. 


Through selection of realistic assessment tasks from Adapted PLAY and PLAYfun by a trained movement professional, you can gain important insight into the child’s skill level, including their strengths, limitations and opportunities for development. The information gained from the assessment can be used to establish a baseline assessment of a child’s current level of physical literacy, create goals (related to participation or performance), and track improvement over time. You can work together with a child or youth to discuss their goals and help them develop plans to reach their goals. 



  1. Ask each child to perform the movement tasks selected from Adapted PLAY and PLAYfun. You may provide a demo if necessary to assist the child with comprehension – this may be important especially in working with children or youth who have a learning, developmental or intellectual disability. 
  2. Analyze the child’s movement for each of the tasks you have selected for their assessment and rate each skill based on the four categories (Initial, Emerging, Competent and Proficient). Each category has a checklist to help you identify the child's movement ability.
  3. Review the results of their assessment and develop an action plan based on the goals of the child or youth you are working with.
  4. Remember that physical literacy is a holistic concept and a movement skills assessment is only one piece of the puzzle. Try using another PLAY Tool such as the PLAYinventory or PLAYself to get a more comprehensive perspective of the child’s level of physical literacy.

Additional Information

Number of Practice Trials

  • You can give the child you are working a couple of practice trials if they would like to try it to ensure they understand - just record this as part of the assessment. Comprehension of the movement task is an aspect of physical literacy in which you may notice improvement over time through recording whether a demonstration was performed first and how many practice trials were needed. 

Equipment Preference 

  • For some of the tasks, you can provide choices on the types of equipment (i.e. sending, receiving and lift and lower). Some pieces of equipment may create a different level of challenge. For example, a bigger or lighter ball might be easier to catch than a smaller or heavier ball. Record the type of equipment as part of the assessment to review how skills may have improved based on using different equipment over time. 

Mobility Aids

  • Some children may use different mobility aids depending on personal preferences or the type of activity they are participating in. Recording this is important for children who use different mobility devices so you can track whether this has changed over time and review how this may have contributed to skill development. 


  • Each assessment task uses a 100mm scale so that the assessor may place a mark anywhere along the scale within each box. This allows the assessor to be more specific when defining the child’s ability for each task. Remember that the top score for proficient is the very best anyone could be at the skill, regardless of age.
  • Example: This assessor has placed a black mark on the left-most side of the “Competent” box to identify that Child A has only just acquired the skill. This score is worth 51/100. An orange mark has been placed farther to the right side of the “Competent” box to indicate that Child B is more competent than Child A, who has just acquired the skill. This second score would be worth 63/100.