The Ross Family, AIM Academy
Learn more about how this school that caters to learning differences helped 8-year-old Addison learn to love school.
When the nightly homework session became a 90-minute ordeal, often ending in tears and frustration, Chris and Sandy Ross knew there must be a better way to help their son, Addison, enjoy learning. Since they found AIM Academy in Conshohocken — which focuses on children with language-based learning differences — homework time has been pared back to 20 minutes, and his confidence has soared.
More importantly, school is now an enjoyable experience for Addison, 8, as the third-grader has found success.
“Addison would sit in class and realized he couldn’t read at the same level as his friends,” Chris said. “Those painful experiences, and that awareness, helped with the transition to AIM.”
The Rosses, who live in Bryn Mawr, send their daughter, Zoe, to The Baldwin School, and are well-versed in the many amazing local schools. While some suggested tutors, discovering that Addison learned differently meant focusing on finding a program that was tailored specifically to his needs.
“It’s not about finding the ‘best’ school, but finding the best school for your child,” Sandy said.
They were immediately struck by the energy upon walking into AIM, and connected with the school’s “Research-to-Practice” philosophy, where each child is regularly assessed throughout the week to determine what makes the information really stick. If something taught on Monday isn’t clicking, teachers quickly pivot to a different approach.
“He’s a very bright and imaginative kid who has his own ideas. You don’t want to stifle him,” Sandy said. “However, he needs structure and rules, too. We get all of those things from AIM.
“We’re grateful that we found out early so that he didn’t become a kid that constantly struggled at school and hated it when he got older. Now, he’s being challenged and loves school.”
The Rosses were not only inspired by the attention to detail in their child’s academic development, but the social responsibility given to each child. Mixed-grade dining allows children of different grades to interact with one another — and how to set the table and serve each other. Older students are responsible for helping the younger ones.
For the Rosses, the best part about choosing AIM was that Addison had the opportunity to learn, succeed, and actually enjoy school. They noticed a significant difference within the first two months. It took some time to work through his negative associations with homework and reading. They were relieved and knew they made the right decision when he said, “I really like AIM because I can read now.”
Because every teacher at AIM is a specialist, every subject is taught in ways that cater to learning differences. That approach can profoundly change a child’s school experience.
The family’s biggest piece of advice is this: If you suspect your child has a learning difference, don’t wait. They feel lucky that they started Addison at AIM when they did, so he has a foundation for loving learning that will carry him throughout his life.
“Every child wants to do well in school,” Sandy said.
“It’s just a matter of putting them in the right environment where they can do well, and the great thing about AIM is that they are not just meeting him, but pushing him far beyond what we would have ever thought that he could do.”
Want to know more? Visit AIM online, or join us for an open house this fall:
November 2 and December 8, 9 — 11 am
Photographs by Casey Kallen.