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Many years ago, long before we started a family, I spent a few years in graduate study and work within the larger field of neuroscience. The brain and how it functions has fascinated me for years, even though I feel like any previous expertise has long since vanished from years of not working in the field. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review Understanding Child Brain Development from The Family Hope Center as a way to reacquaint my own brain with how a child’s brain is developing.
About Understanding Child Brain Development from The Family Hope Center
Working under the premise that every child is a unique individual and therefore should be treated as such, The Family Hope Center based in Pennsylvania works with parents of a child diagnosed as special needs or exhibiting developmental delays to develop a customized approach which targets the brain rather than just the symptoms. An effective, integrated therapy system that includes parents as therapists for their child is developed after evaluating a child’s current skills and abilities.
Upon request by Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excelence in Writing, Matthew and Carol Newell agreed to give a presentation on the topic of Understanding Child Brain Development to then be recorded for distribution to a larger audience on DVD.
Matthew and Carol Newell, the Director and Vice Director of The Family Hope Center, draw from years of experience working with special needs children with a focus upon brain development.
In the 2 hour long presentation, the viewer is presented with many basic landmarks for normal brain development with mention of indicators of delayed development in a child. While the primary focus of The Family Hope Center is on families with a special needs child, the information contained on this DVD is applicable to any interested parent. The DVD will have the viewer considering the who, what, when, where, why and how of your child’s total development, the critical role you play in it, and what you can do to help your children be the best they can be.
To order the DVD ($19 plus shipping), please call 610-397-1737 or you can order Understanding Child Brain Development from IEW.
My Thoughts on Understanding Child Brain Development from The Family Hope Center
As I’ve already shared, I spent time in the study of the brain and it’s interaction through our body in a graduate program years ago. This was followed by nearly 4 years working on a research study evaluating school aged children in the area for occurrence of tics as well as a general diagnostic assessment for different disorders such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, and depression. While I thoroughly loved learning about the brain and how things are manifested through the body, I ended up making a shift into business and marketing followed by the decision to ‘come home’ as a mother and homeschool the boys. However, I still love to read articles related to the field. But, unlike some of the other reviewers for this product, I do not have a child with a special needs diagnosis (although one of them very well might have received one if he had stayed in school.)
Now, I will start off by stating that this is a great product for an overview of brain development. It is NOT something that will give you crystal clear instructions on how to help your child overcome struggles. Rather, you should have a strong sense of empowerment to be the BEST advocate for your child as well as knowing that you can be an integral part of the solution for the problems faced.
One thing that I’d say applies to this particular seminar is that one viewing is NOT enough to really get much of the information contained in the seminar. Also, you may find that watching the whole seminar at once can leave you feeling a bit glossed over. This is where it is nice to use the chapter option of the disc menu to watch in smaller spurts. I had to do this for the review, not because the information was flying too fast for me, but rather because the boys wouldn’t give me a 2 hour stretch without interruptions.
I loved how Dr. Newell cited specific examples of developmental issues and which part of the brain and stage of development it was tied to. I also found it interesting that when he discussed the newborn stage of life he did NOT endorse the now common mantra of ‘back to sleep’ for the baby. Rather, he provided examples of different developmental skills that occur more naturally when baby is but on their belly. We actually found in our house that none of the boys would sleep for a reasonable stretch when placed on their back and it has me wondering now if our going countercultural helped with their brain development.
As I shared, this seminar is not going to be a ‘magic bullet’ for a parent desperately seeking a solution to their child’s problems. However, Dr. Newel does end the seminar with some general tips that can yield a difference in kids, even those who are not exhibiting profound symptoms. I have to admit that I saw a few things that could be change for the positive in our house, too. When discussing improved nutrition, he singles out exposure to EMFs (electronic magnetic fields) which are generated by all the electronic gadgets that have now permeated so many households. While I noticed the my boys can get sucked into a game and not want to get off, I never considered this addiction to be tied to EMFs as they interact with our natural magnetic fields. This homeschooling mama is starting to think tighter limits for those electronics might be a good thing on more fronts than I originally thought!
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