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Include Me Book Studies

Book Studies:


The Arc of PA’s Include Me program is excited to present “Disability Acceptance through Literature,” a virtual book study for students. Books selected by our facilitators provide opportunities to learn about the many aspects of disability through the perspective of school age protagonists.

Discussions center on understanding, acceptance, presuming competence, and friendship. Values like compassion, honesty, authenticity and diversity steer the ship, and we love when conversations are led by students’ interests. These book studies are an innovative way to provide students interested in reading with a structured opportunity to connect with other students across Pennsylvania! We strive to make the book studies accessible, with audio recordings of each chapter, vocab resources, engaging visual content for discussions, and by providing copies of the book to families as the book studies gear up. 

These 4- or 8- week book studies make room for silliness and curiosity, and we’re proud of the stigma-blasting power of the program (and that of the students themselves!).

Include Me connects each book study and accompanying lessons to the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. 

Contact cmorrison@includemepa.org or jmacsisak@includemepa.org for more information

Register for Book Studies:


Title: Freak the Mighty, Rodman Philbrick
Group: 12-16 year olds
Dates: Thursdays at 6:30 PM
June 30 – August 18

Click here to register for Freak the Mighty book study.

“I never had a brain until Freak came along and let me borrow his for a while, and that’s the truth, the whole truth. The unvanquished truth, is how Freak would say it, and for a long time it was him who did the talking.” (Max, page 1.)

Join us Thursdays at 6:30pm for our newest middle years pick for Disability Acceptance through Literature! Group (12-16 year olds and our Include Me facilitators) meets weekly via zoom. All learners 12-16 are welcome! Registering will save you a seat. Include your mailing address so we can send you the book/activity box! Before our first meeting, you will receive an email detailing how to log in to the google classroom, and the zoom link we’ll use to join in every week. Audio recordings will be available in the Google Classroom. *Note for parents: this time-tested book is an adventurous one with some darkness/serious events in the plot. You know your kids best, so check out the book and if this isn’t a good fit, feel free to check out Mustaches for Maddie, another middle years pick for Summer 2022!


Title: Mustaches for Maddie, Chad Morris & Shelly Brown
Group: 8-12 year olds
Dates: Tuesdays at 6:30pm
July 5 – August 23

Click here to register for Mustaches for Maddie book study.

“Fact: mustaches are hilarious. Which is why I collect them. Everything is funnier with a mustache.” (Maddie, page 1.)
“This sweet, hopeful, believable, and unsentimental tale rings true. Being brave, growing up, true friendship—this has it all.” –Booklist

Join us Tuesdays at 6:30PM starting July 5th for our newest early/middle years pick for Disability Acceptance through Literature! The group (8-12 year olds and our Include Me facilitators) will meet weekly via Zoom. All learners 8-12 are welcome! Registering will save you a seat. Include your mailing address so we can send you the book/activity box! Before our first meeting, you will receive an email detailing how to log in to the google classroom, and the zoom link we’ll use to join in every week. Audio recordings will be available in the Google Classroom.

Title: Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
Group: 17+ years old
Dates: Thursdays at 7:45pm
July 14 – August 4

Click here to register for Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend book study.

NEW YA group! Join us for a mini-book study this summer to read “Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend.” The facilitators think this might be a great pick for aspiring future teachers—it sets the stage for conversations about what makes a good teacher; about presuming competence, dignity of risk, and the beauty of kids’ imaginations. Note: suggested age group is firm. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer (facilitator) at jmacsisak@includemepa.org. We will meet weekly from 7:45-8:45 on Thursdays, July 14-August 4. We will reach out to you with information on connecting to the google classroom and logging on through Zoom before the book study begins; we hope to dive straight in to a small section of the book for our first meeting!

NEW Module Just Arrived - Trauma-Informed Care. Visit our E-Learning Module Series. This series provides information and strategies for teachers, families, and paras to support the education of all students.

The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. In order to receive certification, participants must attend a 3 day, in-person training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Arc Discovery Employment Transitions (ADEPT) is The Arc of Pennsylvania’s customized employment program. The Arc of Pennsylvania supports individuals with significant impact of disability to seek and maintain customized employment in their community. As a result, The Arc of Pennsylvania’s consultants are trained and nationally certified by Marc Gold & Associates, a national leader in customized employment, to provide Discovery, Customized Employment Job Development, and Systematic Instruction to individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania who are seeking employment. In addition to providing customized employment services, The Arc of Pennsylvania hosts several certification courses with Marc Gold & Associates for individuals and organizations interested in national certification in Discovery, Job Development, and Systematic Instruction.

Include Me is a new model for inclusive education and gaining meaningful employment for Pennsylvania’s students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Pennsylvania and Include Me believe all individuals with significant impact of developmental and intellectual disability deserve equal educational and competitive employment rights. Our mission, build and strengthen the inclusive education capacity for all public-school students, and discover meaningful employment opportunities meeting Pennsylvania employee and employer needs. Include Me strives to ensure all impacted students have equal access to all aspects of life and the community throughout their lifespan.

Include Me is an initiative that was part of the agreement on final terms between the plaintiffs and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the Gaskin Settlement Agreement. We were initially assigned to districts with the lowest inclusion rates but after the initial success, we have grown in reputation among school districts. We now operate on a volunteer basis and serve districts that volunteer for our services. Include Me initially started as a School Age program but we have since expanded to include a PreSchool program and now we are excited to begin offering our transition-age services to help find a path to customized employment for students transitioning out of high school.

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