The presentation she delivered to IFCO 18th World Conference in Sydney, Australia 2015 can be seen here. Delivered in her characteristic story telling, dynamic and visual way, this 13 minute video offers insight into the legacy of trauma.
Recent conferences where Helen Oakwater was speaking:
IFCO European Conference: Sheffield: 1-4 September 2016.
IFCO conference abstract Oakwater sept 2016 PDF . “Does lack of truth telling destabilise a childs life journey”
EUFASD: Royal Holloway: University of London 12-15 September 2016 Abstract EUFASD Oakwater sept 2016 PDF “How consequences of maltreatment and neglect overlap with FASD symptoms”.
The presentation offers a new model and way of thinking about the impact of prenatal alcohol and/or maltreatment on children. Put simply prenatal alcohol causes irreversible brain damage (“swiss cheese brain”) while maltreatment causes the brain to be wired for trauma and threat.
Helen Oakwater delivered the keynote to an audience of 1000: Does lack of truth telling destabilise a child’s life journey?
“The mismatch between a child’s sensory memory of their maltreatment in infancy and the story they are subsequently told about their early life creates long term confusion and feelings of shame which frequently derails them.We know “the body keeps the score” (Bessel Van Der Kolk) yet adults often tell children a sanitised and saccharine version of their past, in the mistaken belief that this will protect the child. It doesn’t. The child has experienced life from inside their own bodies while looking though their own eyes. This is the data they will use to make meaning of themselves and the world. What they need from adults is confirmation of the harsh truth, fresh perspectives and ongoing support to comprehend and integrate the knowledge.”