Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review of Family Hope Center's Understanding Brain Development DVD

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Recently, I had the opportunity to watch the DVD Understanding Child Brain Development (available for purchase from IEW), a Family Hope Center Presentation. Recorded from a live presentation by Matthew and Carol Newell, child brain developmentalists, this DVD is about 2 hours long and is packed with information about children with brain dysfunctions and disabilities. There is actually so much information in the DVD that you might be tempted to take notes. Fortunately, you don't have to, as your DVD purchase includes a link to an E-book of all of the slides presented. This is a huge perk, since it frees you to focus on the information presented, knowing that you can go back and focus on any specifics later.

For some in-depth information on An Introduction to Your Child's Brain, be sure to spend some time on the the Family Hope Center's website, as there is a tremendous amount of information there that is something of a preview of what you will learn on the DVD. It by no means takes the place of the DVD, but by reading the information on the website first, you do two things: first, you familiarize yourself with aspects of the brain and which functions it controls. Second, you are able to see if exploring more of what the Newells have to say is of value to you.  What comes through clearly in both the DVD and on the website is that Matthew and Carol Newell have a strong and abiding belief in the ability of the brain to be able to respond to stimulation (properly applied!) and to heal itself. Thus, issues such as ADHD and Autism can be addressed and the brain retrained to make new neural connections.

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The Newells advocate some fairly uncontroversial ideas at the beginning of the DVD. For example, they stress that what you feed your child can impact his brain development. Things like dyed and processed foods can affect your child's brain. For any parent who has tried to eliminate such foods from her child's diet, the positive impact on a child from shunning these foods is almost immediate. The Newells also suggest more outside play and less computer time - something most homeschool moms can readily get behind.

It is in the latter half of the DVD that the Newells really go into more detail about how they and The Family Hope Center believe that the brain can be stimulated through creeping and other methods. Surprisingly, the Newells also believe that putting babies to sleep on their stomachs is preferable to back sleeping. Of course, the American Academy of Pediatrics has been recommending for more than a decade now that babies be put on their backs to sleep in order to minimize the risk of SIDS.

To be fair, The Family Hope Center is obviously far more about alternative therapies than traditional medicine, so anyone watching this DVD will be aware of this mindset. For me, though, while I applaud the Newells' passion for children and healing, I am wary of recommendations that go completely against the AAP. While I am hardly an apologist for traditional medicine, I definitely fall more to that side than to the side of alternative medicine. For example, all of my children were fully vaccinated on schedule.

I found this DVD very interesting. I was initially interested in it because my son has ADHD, OCD, possible CAPD, and who knows what else. I have to say, though, that I don't think that what the Newells offer is something that will help my family. Many families have very different mindsets from mine, though, so if you have a child who could benefit, or if you're just curious, be sure to check out all of the Crew reviews, as many different kinds of Crew families got to view this DVD.

The DVD costs $19.00 and can be ordered from IEW (as noted above), or by calling 610-397-1737.

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