Helen Oakwater (found of FAB Parents) is a frequent and popular conference speaker who always receives outstanding feedback.

The presentation she delivered to IFCO 18th World Conference in Sydney, Australia can be seen below. Delivered in her characteristic storytelling, dynamic and visual way, this 13-minute video offers insight into the legacy of trauma.

What lurks below the behaviour you observe in a hurt child?

Live streamed Keynote Presentation to New South Wales Child Protection conference. (6 x 8-12 minute videos).

Meet Sandy, Tamie and Tim who are in the same class. Why do they all respond differently to a teacher’s request?




Central Union for Child Welfare/Finland (CUCW),  Jyvaskyla, Finland 

Helen Oakwater delivered the keynote to an audience of 1000: Does lack of truth-telling destabilise a childs 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 through 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.”

National Child Welfare Conference

"Helen Oakwater gave an interesting lecture in our National Child Welfare Conference in Jyväskylä, Finland on 27-28 September 2016. The conference had nearly 1,200 participants and it was aimed for professionals in the field of child welfare. Helen’s lecture Does Lack of Truth-Telling Destabilise a Child’s Life Journey? was valued among participants.

I can warmly recommend Helen for other conferences to speak about similar topics. Helen’s talent as a lecturer would certainly bring additional value to other events. The feedback from the participants supports my opinion:

  • “Helen Oakwater was brilliant and the content was important. We need more speakers like her!”
  • “The way she lectures is great and it is easy to understand.”
  • “The content of the lecture was remarkably interesting and good.”
  • “Helen was impressive, the lecture was full of information, emotional, important and superbly presented.”
  • “Helen Oakwater was the star of the conference! An important topic and she had a charming way to
  • “The lecture of Helen Oakwater was one of the best I have ever heard – and I have heard many.”

Hanna Heinonen

CEO, Central Union for Child Welfare Finland



Royal Holloway: University of London Abstract EUFASD Oakwater sept 2016 PDF “How consequences of maltreatment and neglect overlap with FASD symptoms”.

Presentation: EUFASD conference sept 2016 slides

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.