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.
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