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Crew Review: Understanding Child Brain Development

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The Family Hope Center is an international organization with a team of experts dedicated to helping families of children with developmental delays and special needs. But they are so much more than that!

For review I was sent a dvd called Understanding Child Brain Development that introduced me to the Family Hope Center and some of the ideas behind the programs they offer.

By focusing first on helping parents and families understand brain function, the team can individualize a treatment program for each unique situation that a child (or adult) may be living with. From simple reading delays to full blown severe brain injuries, each unique situation is met with the hope and expertise of a caring team of professionals. Families can attend an Interactive Training conference, and set up personal appointments for their special needs and severely affected children to begin their journey which will ultimately result in an in-home treatment program.

But for the majority of children who aren’t severely affected but may exhibit difficulties in cognitive, behavioral or emotional functioning, the Family Hope Center has put together a complete at-home program to help families bring out the best in their children called The Thriving Child.

Despite the level of treatment a child might need, the principles of the program are the same, and target the brain rather than the symptoms or labels a child may have been given.  The dvd that I received, which contains the recording of a seminar given by Matthew and Carol Newell, the director and vice-director of the Family Hope Center, was designed to help parents understand how the brain develops, the critical role they play in it, and how to maximize development and bring out the very best in their child.


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To order the DVD, please call 610-397-1737 or you can order Understanding Child Brain Development from Institute for Excellence in Writing for $19.00.  This dvd is targeted for an adult audience.

The interactive seminar is an informative presentation with slides, and plenty of question/answer discussion.  While it really focuses on the Family Hope Center’s three day seminar and personalized treatment program that they offer, you can definitely begin to understand how and why their program works and gives hope to so many.

The sections include:

-Introduction by Andrew Pudewa

-Matthew and Carol Newell,The Family Hope Center

-Child Brain Development – Who’s Really Driving?

-Why do Brain Dysfunctions Still Exist?

– The Family Hope Center

– The Magnificent Brain

– The Sense of Smell

– The Sense of Smells in Newborns

– The Pons

– The Mid-Brain: Creeping

– The Cortex

– Diagnosis/Treatment at The Family Hope Center

– Physiology vs. Pathology

– Integrated Therapy

– Water and Its Effect on the Human Body

With the help of slides and charts, Mr. Newell takes a comprehensive look at how the brain develops, linking the physical and developmental properties. He then covers developmental delays, pinpointing parts of the brain that are “injured” or not developed in certain situations.  By finding the source of the delay, the actual problem can be treated vs. treating a collection of symptoms. He covers how the center diagnosis and treats  brain injuries by putting parents in the driver’s seat and teaching the family how to rehabilitate their family member. He introduces ideas of some of the therapies that families are taught to do at home such as creeping and crawling.

In conclusion, the Newell’s give some practical advice that families can work on to lead their families to better health that they learn first and foremost in the 3-day seminar:

  1. Understand the child and work together
  2. Nutrition – food, water, eliminate EMFs, sunshine
  3. Structure work
  4. Basic sensory simulation
  5. Neurologically based mobility programs
  6. Consistency – schedule, emotional/social support

For a more detailed look at the dvd and the Family Hope Center, you can take a look at the companion e-book (pdf) which contains slides from the video seminar and more thorough explanation of the seminar and programs offered.

Along with the dvd, I received a second dvd called Stories of Family Hope which contains interviews with families who have been through the program with children who have ADD/ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Autism.  It also shows the Family Hope Center and 3-day seminar.

My thoughts on the dvd:

I was interested in viewing this dvd because I have always been intrigued by brain and neurological development. I grew up with a brother with Tourette Syndrome, and our family suffered a difficult journey in diagnosis and treatment at a time when the disease was little known. This sparked my interest early on of brain development.

As I began thinking of raising children of my own, I began studying even more on neurodevelopment. I happily watched my own children meet and/or exceed benchmarks, and worked to nurture those neuronal connections to the best of my ability.

I have relatives that dealt with some developmental delays and used many of the ideas and principles introduced in this video with their own children, so I was more intrigued than ever when I read the description of it.

I enjoyed the video and reviewing many of the ideas and principles of brain development. The video is really easy to understand and the discussion with the audience is helpful in summing up many of the ideas. I love the chronological order of covering the brain and the basic ideas related to each section.

I do feel that they could have more clearly covered and  linked the therapy ideas that were introduced in the video. Even though the video gave a lot of specific teaching on the anatomy and physiology of the brain, I do feel it seemed a bit like an advertisement for the 3-day seminar they hold at their center than teaching some things you can do at home yourself. It showed many examples of families and children that were helped and treated by their program, but didn’t leave as much hope for things that I could use with my own children to help them through some of the areas I identified that might be problems with them. For those who have children who might only have some minor areas that need a little help, I feel it could have done a better job clearly laying out some specific things to do. I think these ideas were in there, but some I already knew from the program my relatives used with their kids, so I’m not sure someone unfamiliar with this approach would understand the how, how long, and how much of the therapy.

I feel for children and families that have severely affected children and are searching for hope, that this might just be the answer if they are financially able. For those families who are financially unable to set up an appointment with the Family Hope Center and travel, it might be a good place to start. For those with children who might have some minor areas of development that need some work, this video might offer a deeper understanding of what’s going on and a good place to begin looking for help!

To see what my crew mates thought of this dvd, click the box!






Enjoy Your Journey!


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