Understanding Child Brain Development: Family Hope Center

Family Hope Center

The brain is vast and complex. Neurons, synapses, fifty thousand miles of wiring, and billions of nerve cells. You would expect an organ so complicated would require hyper-vigilant attention to keep it from malfunctioning. On the contrary, the brain works fine with the basics: good food, sleep, and exercise. But what if something is amiss with the brain?  I had the opportunity to review Understanding Child Brain Development by The Family Hope Center. This two hour DVD features Matthew and Carol Newell, Director and Vice Director of the center. The DVD (19.99) is a videotaping of a presentation the Newell’s gave to a small audience regarding both normal childhood brain development and what they believe to be the cause and treatment for delays in development. They also promote their three day seminar for those wishing to immerse themselves into the Newell’s techniques for becoming “engineers” of their child’s brain restorations.


Though none of my sons have any significant developmental delay, I hoped this DVD might give me some insight into why one of my son’s had not progressed in a subject area. I had never heard of the Newell’s before this review; likely because they work with families who have children with severe neurological impairments, and they practice from a chiropractic/alternative perspective. To start, I read over a PDF of the slides used during this videotaped workshop. Despite being a healthcare provider I couldn’t make sense of the handouts and hoped I would better understand the material reference as I watched the presentation.

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Andrew Pudewa of Institute for Excellence in Writing gave an endorsing introduction, and praised Matthew and Carol for their contribution to improving the lives of many families through their work at the Family Hope Center located in Norristown, Pennsylvania. They help children with special needs and developmental delays using an integrative approach, focusing on treating problems not symptoms, assessing the root causes of the problem, and empowering parents with knowledge to be the best source of help for the child.


The nature of the presentation is that of a lecture, with Matthew Newell as the primary speaker. Power point slides and a few props are used for visual effect.  The quality of the video was not great and had some distracting static. Mr. Newell went through child brain development from infancy on, but he covered so much material I felt lost. I took seven pages of notes, watched it in two sittings, paused it frequently, yet I feel no more enlightened on the subject than when I started. I think I was even more confused. Maybe I need some brain reorganization….

Here’s what I gathered from the DVD

The Family Hope Center’s approach is Physiology vs. Pathology, in other words

This is Integrative/Chiropractic/Cranial Sacral/Fascia/Digestive Treatment

and consists of….

  • Sensory stimulation
  • Crawl therapy (no matter what the child’s age which may require hours of crawling a day for “neurological reorganization”)
  • Nutrition: water, good organic food, no labeled food, no additives, no soy milk, natural juices
  • Eliminate electromagnetic fields-microwaves, big screen TV’s, computer games, video games, “gameboys”. Child can become addicted to the EMS. Question..Is an iPod ok?  Gameboys are retro.
  • Outside play and sunshine
  • Unplug TV’s because of the signal putting out
  • Heavy metal detox program is part of treatment
  • Cranial sacral movement – He states 99% of the kids coming to clinic have brains that aren’t moving. They are living with a straightjacket on their head, expansion and contraction is crucial as it allows blood flow to the brain. Bit lost here..What does that mean?
  • Smell therapy
  • Motion to help pituitary gland,

As a homeschooling mama who is also a practicing NP using evidence based medical standards of care, the Newell’s philosophy is not in line with my own. Not that I don’t support integrative medicine as it has an important place in health and wellness.  I just can’t recommend a mode of treatment based on an amateur DVD production. And the “creepy” part is the thought of having a school aged or older child do hours of crawl therapy to reorganize their brain. I just didn’t get it.

I definitely agreed with some of their recommendations such as outside play, curbing video gaming, good food, sleep and structure.  But isn’t that just common sense? The rest did not set well.


I would surmise that those who use alternative medicine practitioners for health care and accept integrative philosophies for treating the body’s problems, and have children with developmental delays/special needs may want to learn more about The Family Hope Center. Explore their website, and share the information with your health care provider.

If you are interested, you can call 610-397-1737 to order the DVD or use the link above.

Read more reviews at the Schoolhouse Review Crew Blog

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7 Replies to “Understanding Child Brain Development: Family Hope Center”

  1. One of their staff members told us that if we changed our son’s diet, his Type 1 diabetes would be cured. This complete ignorance about T1D on their part pretty much tells you all you need to know about these nut jobs.

  2. Amaro, as you already know, there is no curing type 1 diabetes. As a parent, when we hear something like that our fur should go up, and we must take our precious children somewhere else. We need to equip ourselves with knowledge from reputable sources and constantly advocate, question, and listen to our guts, and expect our providers to as well. Take care, thank you for commenting, and I wish for your son good health. Best, Kathy

  3. Thank you for your honest review. I did want to mention that although I have not seen this specific DVD or been to any of the Family Hope Center’s conferences, I have a child who has made dramatic improvements in learning and behavior through many of the holistic methods that FHC describes. We have changed diet, environmental factors, and included many specific movements, including creeping and crawling (at age 7), no matter how “creepy” it seems (I like your pun there, whether intended or not). :)

    For me, the proof is in the tens of thousands of children who have been changed for the better. I am curious as to the Type 1 diabetes comment that the previous person commented about. Perhaps the staff person misunderstood what you were asking? Maybe not, and they were wrong/unqualified to answer such a question. Anyway, I would encourage further research before declaring a research-proven program like this as “nut jobs”. Best wishes and I did enjoy your review.

  4. Thank you Kelly for sharing your thoughts. I am happy to hear your child made dramatic improvements with the holistic methods of approach. May you have continued success and I appreciate hearing your testimony. Be well!!

  5. This is the problem with main stream medicine. Please do not be negative about something that you do not understand. My teenager has been crawling for a few months and the results are incredible. This is the only free therapy that has ever been offered to us – the main stream medicine therapy exhausted all my savings with no results – ST, OT, PT, this therapy, that therapy – it’s all useless. I have not paid one penny as I gleaned this information from free webinars and videos. Again, I’m amazed after just a few months. My daughter was adopted and didn’t know how to crawl at age 12. She also could not smell. She is making amazing progress for the first time since adoption 9 years ago. I have a masters in nursing with over 35 years experience. This is evidence-based!

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