Your Life: Young author with dyslexia credits success to AIM Academy

In this week's "Your Life" segment, we look at a teenager who discovered at a young age that following a traditional learning path doesn't always get you where you want to go.

Author Andrew Rosenstein devoted 126 pages in his book "Millennial World" to why he and his tech savvy peers belong to one of the most powerful and misunderstood generations in history.

While the subject matter may surprise you so will the author's age.

He's just 17.

But there's something else.

"I don't take my age as a barrier and I don't allow that to stop me from doing what I want," Rosenstein said.

That isn't the only barrier Andrew has faced.

In middle school, he was diagnosed with dyslexia.

"I could read it fluently, that wasn't the problem, but the comprehension, I couldn't understand what the words were on paper," Rosenstein said.

Now, he is not just an avid reader, but a budding author and entrepreneur.

He's started two businesses: one of them is a clothing brand called Opportunity Rise, which he started with fellow classmate, Sophia Gross. She is also dyslexic.

"What better way to promote our business than to have people wearing our stuff all over the place and spreading the message," Gross said.

The message and the money goes to helping other kids with learning differences.

Both are just teenagers, but have raised thousands of dollars through the business. They've also given TED TALKS. And both credit their high school, AIM Academy in Conshohocken, for giving them the confidence and learning skills to achieve what they once thought was unachievable.

"Success breeds competence and so that is really important to us," AIM Associate Director Nancy Blair said.

Blair and Pat Roberts started AIM back in 2006.

Both their daughters had learning differences and both were inspired to create a better learning path for children who learned differently.

"Our mantra is we teach literacy all day long, but we really want to look at the whole child and make sure those talents don't get buried inside," Roberts, AIM Executive Director, said. "That's why we get so excited when Andrew has this opportunity because this is just one example of the many strengths that our students have."

Andrew acknowledges AIM in his book stating, "AIM is the reason I can write, read, have my passion of entrepreneurship, and so much more."

"The way I learn or the way that I think everyone should learn is really focused on what you love," Rosenstein said.

AIM is a private 1st through 12th grade school with a tuition that begins around $32,000 a year, but 23 percent of the students receive financial assistance.

AIM is also spearheading a pilot program in two Philadelphia public schools where a portion of their model is being used to teach all learners.
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