Homeschool Review: Understanding Child Brain Development

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What do you know about the brain? It is absolutely one of God’s most amazing creations! My undergraduate degree is in Early Childhood Education. In my training, I had an excellent professor who was at the cutting edge of childhood development research. I learned so much from him about stages of growth from birth through the elementary years. I’ve even had the opportunity to teach some brain research as a part of a community college child development course. Being allowed to review a DVD produced by the Family Hope Center is a treat because I knew I would get to review some of what I already had learned, and then add to my knowledge so I can help my children succeed.

The family Hope Center

About the Product:
The Family Hope Center is an international entity that helps parents to help their children. Most of the children they serve are those with some sort of a diagnosed issue: ADD/ADHD, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and brain trauma. However, even those who struggle with reading or dyslexia can gain from the resources of The Family Hope Center. Their website is filled with information about the development of the brain and resources parents can use to learn more about early childhood development. This information has been put together by a team of “practitioners and consultants – pediatricians, internists, kinesiologists, chiropractors, osteopaths, neurologists, psychologists and homeopaths, among others – the Team of The Family Hope Center provide in-depth instruction and training in this innovative yet medically sound treatment protocol.” The goal of The Family Hope Center is to equip parents with practical strategies that will help their children be the best they can be.

The Family Hope Center offers parents workshops, three day conferences, and two day appointments to train parents and work with children. I could not find a cost for any of these on the website, but you can call them for more information: (610)-397-1737. I received a DVD ($19.00) called Understanding Child Brain Development, which is one of the sessions by Matt and Carol Newell, the directors of The Family hope Center.

My Thoughts:Family Hope Center
The DVD was two hours in length. It shows an introductory session that Matt Newell leads. At the beginning he speaks about The Family Hope Center and what their services and objectives are, and then he begins to teach how different parts of the brain work. One of the things that I REALLY liked was how he explained the functions of each part of the brain and why certain infant actions need to happen. For example, he teaches that during tummy time, there is a specific part of the brain that is stimulated while the baby is active on his tummy. If a baby does not have an adequate amount of tummy time, then a specific section of the brain could be less organized.  Poor brain organization causes developmental delays or lack of certain functions when the baby becomes older. He suggests that this is true for crawling and creeping as well.

This first part of the DVD made me SO excited!! I feel like every student in a child development class needs to study brain development!! Every PARENT also needs it. Most pediatricians will encourage new parents about doing these types of activities, but they may not discuss, in detail, the “why” behind them. That is what Matt Newall is doing. He tells parents why their children need tummy time, why they need time to crawl, and why creeping is important. Pushing a child to walk might not be beneficial. Developmental milestones and brain growth might be missed.

What Newell teaches about the parts and functions of the brain matches my education. My education also taught that proper brain development requires the different milestones from infancy through the early preschool years. The Family Hope Center claims that through helping a child revisit those milestones they are able to help certain children so they can have a better life. If this is true, then it is amazing. They suggest that they can help and sometimes heal children with ADD/ADHD, autism, cerebral palsy, etc.

Where, I think, his lecture breaks down is when he speaks about strategies parents can use with their children at home before making a two day appointment with them. Strategies such as: understanding the child, good nutrition, organic diet, not watching television, drinking mainly water, avoiding dietary dyes, and increased sunshine exposure. I am all for good nutrition, drinking plenty of water, and a change of diet. I also agree that sitting in front of a television or computer screen all day is detrimental to a child’s health. However, the arguments he used to make his points were not supported. He did not back up his assertions with scientific data. While searching The Family Hope Center website, I did find some research documentation. If this type of brain therapy really is successful, then tell parents what the research says; persuasive arguments are not needed.

For example, Newell speaks about a book written about water. Evidently the author did some experiments with water crystals to see what electromagnetic waves would do to them. Newell starts out showing an ice crystal from a clean water source. Next he shows a crystal from a dirty river. He states that the water has become damaged. To me, this sounds misleading. The water has become polluted, but the water molecules have not been damaged. It is still water. He shows water supposedly “exploded” because of sitting near a television. He continues on to show water taken from fast food and water taken from “home cooking”. Newell never states what the food is. Was it a french fry vs. a homemade baked potato? Or was it an Arby’s salad vs. some homemade peach cobbler? At another point Newell asks for the audience’s opinion about television’s effect on the water crystals in children’s brains. As I understand it, we have liquid water in our bodies. Water molecules, yes. Crystals, no.

Newell uses the images of water crystals to communicate the dangers of electromagnetic fields of microwave ovens, cellphones, televisions, etc. However, there apparently is no conclusive evidence proving that electromagnetic waves cause brain damage. There may be links, but more research needs to be completed.  Either Newell has more information than the researchers or he expressing his opinions as facts. At one point Newell mentions that “microwaved food is of no value to our bodies.” It seems a bit dramatic and incorrect to suggest that microwaved food has NO nutritional value.

Newell shows impressive pictures, but he does not support his arguments. If he has the research, then he does not mention it. If the therapy of The Family Hope Center really works, if it is regularly successful, then everyone needs to know about these methods!! The testimonies online are fantastic! Give parents hard data. Give them percentages. I do not know if Newell presents more data during his conferences, but he did not present data in the DVD I received.

The brain information is good. Every parent needs to watch that part of the DVD. In fact, if these strategies work well with children of any age, then I would think they would also work with adults. But I do think Newell can improve his delivery of the reasons behind the strategies parents can do to help their children. A strength of this DVD is that Newell presents techniques that parents can employ, immediately, for free to improve the organization of their child’s brain. You can experiment and draw your own conclusions!

To order the DVD, please call 610-397-1737 or you can order Understanding Child Brain Development from the Institute of Excellence in Writing.

The Understanding Child Brain Development DVD earns 4 brains out of 5 brains for its brain development information!!




Homeschool Review: Understanding Child Brain Development — 8 Comments

  1. Cool stuff. I doubt I’ll worry about getting the DVD, but will check out the website. It’s extra fun to learn about kids’ brains having my own. 🙂