NOTE: I received Your Thriving Child and a scholarship to Family Hope Center’s special needs seminar in exchange for my honest review. They are not paying me any advertisement fees or any compensation for my blog posts. All opinions in this review series are my own, and Family Hope Center knows that I am obligated to present both pros and cons to my readers.
One of the things I love most about my job with HEDUA is bringing special needs to a mainstream company. Because of that, I have been given a great opportunity. The Family Hope Center has asked me to attend their special needs seminar in two weeks. They’ve also sent me their home program Your Thriving Child. The Your Thriving Child program contains 7 DVDs with 16 hours of instruction and a large notebook containing accompanying notes and their special brain development chart. As with all HEDUA reviews, I will be sharing pros and cons.
The Family Hope Center’s programs can be used by any family for any child, challenged or not. However, since I’m a special needs mom, and many special needs parents come to them for help, I’ll be reviewing these programs from that perspective.
Let me share my thoughts so far.
1. The Family Hope Center challenges your thinking.
Matthew Newell says point blank, “We will challenge your belief system about the brain’s development.” The Newells and their staff have experience teaching parents and other caregivers how to help their children strengthen their brains, thus improving deficits. I’d say most of us grew up in typical 20th century experience with medicine and not a whole lot of knowledge of alternative therapies until we looked into it as an option for our children. I venture to guess most of us react a bit skeptically when we hear Matthew say his wife Carol has helped blind children see. But these children she was able to help had no neurological problems. The connections were there, the brain just didn’t function properly yet. Did it happen overnight? No. It took time and patience. However, that challenges your thinking, doesn’t it (By the way, I have yet to hear the Newells say “cure”. I’ve heard “progress” and “improvement”, but not cure.)?
2. The Family Hope Center is pro-parent.
Many, if not most, professionals that special needs parents meet in their journey have a superior attitude. The other night as I was watching the training, Mr. Newell said (paraphrasing), “You know your child better than anyone else, not the professional. We answer to you, not the other way around. We spend a lot of time listening first.”
3. The Family Hope Center’s foundation is fascinating.
All of the Family Hope Center’s programs build upon the foundation of the way the brain works. As I watch the DVDs, I am amazed at how God created our brain and body to work together. Listening to all of the different things each part of the brain affects, I am intrigued and fascinated. Matthew Newell will say, “So, if this part of your child’s brain didn’t get fully organized, then you’ll probably see they can’t concentrate, or they…” and my jaw practically drops.
4. The Family Hope Center is positive.
“We chart abilities, not disabilities.” That’s what Matthew Newell says about their program. “We help you find where your child is developmentally and then show you how to help them improve. We want to help special needs parents feel like they’re in the driver’s seat, not the passenger seat or the back seat, or even not in the car.” Those are empowering words, since most special needs parents DO feel like they’re not in the driver’s seat.
I am still at the beginning of the Your Thriving Child program. At this point I have come across only two cons–finding time to watch the DVDs when I’ve got two busy little boys and my husband is working extra hours, and the cost. I now understand why the Newells encourage people to come to the seminar if possible, so they have concentrated time to get through the training. As for cost, when you compare it to the price many special needs families pay out of pocket for doctors visits and therapies, it ends up more reasonable over time.
I am looking forward to meeting the Newells and their staff at the seminar in a couple weeks. In the meantime, I’ll be writing about things more on here as I work through the program, and you can also follow the hashtag #FHCreview if you’re on Twitter or Instagram. I’ve already tweeted some quotes and thoughts. I’ll also be writing about it over at HEDUA’s blog once a month.
So, here it is. What would you like to know about the Family Hope Center? You can go to their site and watch a video (top right corner) about two boys with autism who visited the center. Your questions will help me and also help the FHC know what information people want. Can’t wait for you to join me on this journey!