Understanding Child Brain Development: Family Hope Center . . . A T.O.S. Review

As the parent of multiple children with special needs, I was interested in reviewing the DVD “Understanding Child Brain Development” from Family Hope Center by Matthew and Carol Newell, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

This DVD runs about two hours, and is a LOT to go through in one sitting, but you can watch it in sections by using the chapter menu, thereby managing to take breaks without needing to leave your DVD player on pause for any length of time.

This DVD is a recording of a live presentation given by Matthew and Carol Newell. I had some issues with the sound quality ( I needed to turn the sound up quite a bit on the TV in order to hear it clearly ), and was unable to read the visual aids they used, but with the DVD you’ll receive a link for an e-book with all of the slides in it for use while following along.

The Family Hope Center’s purpose (and their belief in the possibility) is to help special needs children and their parents to overcome and “correct” brain dysfunctions and disabilities. Both Matthew and Carol Newell are certified in Craniosacral and Myofascial Release Therapy. They have been trained to work with special needs children, and they also used these theories with their own daughter.

The first part of the program gives a TON of really good information about child brain development, and how different things affect it. Things like getting more time to crawl around, instead of being put mostly into walkers, bouncers, car seats, and cribs. They also talked about how much better it is for the development of the brain for babies to be put to sleep on their stomachs, which surprised me, as I’ve been hearing the phrase “BACK to sleep” for years now, referring to the need to put babies on their backs when putting them to bed. We are told on the DVD that sleeping on their stomachs helps the baby’s digestion, and also aids the baby in learning to creep and crawl, which, as I mentioned above, is important in aiding the brain development.

While I found all of the information on child brain development to be fascinating, and am in complete agreement with the idea of limiting TV, electronic games, etc . . ., and that children should spend much more time playing, eating more nutritious foods and drinking a whole lot more water than they generally do (the water thing is a constant battle with our kids!), I did have issues with some of the things recommended to help and treat children with developmental disabilities.

I felt that this was yet one more time of being criticized if, as parents, we have chosen to allow our children to be put on medications. I do believe that for many children, medications are definitely called for, and that their disabilities cannot simply be treated and cured with alternative methods. There were things that I have heard before, such as not using microwave ovens, not allowing the use of cell phones, etc . . . that I, personally, have never seen any real proof of their scientific value. Admittedly, I have a bias when it comes to cell phones, as our income comes from my husband’s job with a major cell phone company, but truly, I don’t believe the theories that cell phone use causes medical problems to have been even close to proven. Nonetheless, our children don’t have them. Not because we believe these theories, but because we don’t believe children need to HAVE cell phones! 🙂

I will say that my oldest child, who has fetal alcohol syndrome, was the main reason I was interested in reviewing this DVD. He was adopted at age two, and is developmentally delayed. He also has some mental retardation and is on the autism spectrum. I got the impression from the Family Hope Center that developmental disabilities can be “cured” with their treatments, and I simply don’t believe it to be true. I do believe that they give a lot of good information that parents can do on their own to help their child, in fact, a lot of the ideas were things we did way back when “The Batman” was much younger. I agree whole-heartedly that we should be working with our children to help them be all that they can be, and to progress as far as they can, however, at the same time, I know that even as my son has progressed much further than the “experts” told us he would when we adopted him, he is very unlikely to progress past a certain point, which is why we have been given legal guardianship over him that will never expire now that he is over the age of 18.

Even though I do have more trust in medical science than I do in alternative medical advice, I know many people who absolutely swear by alternative healthcare, even some who will ONLY use alternative methods. If you fall into that category, then I think this DVD may be something you will want, if you have a child with special needs. In fact, if you don’t have a child with special needs, and even if, like me, you don’t believe quite so firmly in alternative methods of healthcare, I think you’ll find all of the information on child brain development to be very informative and interesting.

If you would like to view the DVD “Understanding Child Brain Development”, you may order it by calling (610)397-1737, or you can order directly from the Institute for Excellence in Writing, for the cost of $19.00

Other Schoolhouse Review Crew Members also watched and reviewed this DVD. To read what they thought, please click the graphic below


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Filed under adoption, Family Hope Center, home education, homeschool products, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Understanding Child Brain Development

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