Find out more about who will be speaking at the 2021 Adoption UK Annual Conference

Eamon McCrory

Eamon McCroryEamon is Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology and Co-Director of the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit at UCL. He is also Director of Education and Training at the Anna Freud Centre and Co-Director of the UK Trauma Council. His research uses brain imaging and psychological approaches to investigate the impact of childhood maltreatment on emotional development and mental health. The long-term aim of his work is to understand how and why mental health problems can unfold following early adversity, and how we might intervene to promote more resilient outcomes for children.

In this talk, Childhood Trauma and the Brain: What have we learnt from neuroscience, Prof. McCrory will review the current evidence from the field, highlighting the complex relationship between the brain, childhood trauma, the social world, and mental health alongside implications for prevention. 

Dr Amber Elliott

Dr Amber Elliott is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and bestselling author based in Staffordshire. 

Amber is a specialist in psychological support for Adopted and Children Looked After, developmental trauma and is a Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) consultant and trainer (in training). She is also trained in NVR, Theraplay and Systemic Family Therapy and a passionate advocate for Empathic Behaviour Management. 

In 2011, Amber set up The Child Psychology Service CIC, of which she is the sole Director. TCPS is a Social Enterprise which provides systemically empathic, psychological support for traumatised children and the adults around them. 

Amber’s first book, ‘Why Can’t My Child Behave? Empathic Parenting Strategies that Work for Adoptive and Foster Families’ was published in 2013, with the follow up ‘Superparenting!: Boost Your Therapeutic Parenting Through Ten Transformative Steps’ published in 2021.  

Amber has over twenty years’ experience in the NHS and Local Authorities. She is a Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist, an Associate Fellow of theBritish Psychological Society, on the Register of Approved Psychology Practice Supervisors and she is regulated by theHealth and Care Professions Council. She is also a slightly frazzled mum to two young children. 

This keynote will address our parenting defaults, why our attachment to reward-punishment thinking is so strong and how those defaults compare and contrast with (necessarily imperfect) therapeutic parenting. Most importantly Amber will highlight the practical mind-set shifts that make a difference to our children.

Education Panel

Becky Brooks (AUK)

Sharon Williams (AUK Wales)

Alison Parkinson (AUK Scotland)

More information and bios coming soon

Adopted Persons' Panel

Ans Aspden

Ans is a volunteer with Adoption UK Cymru.

Ans was born in Cardiff and placed into foster care at birth; she was adopted by a loving family as an infant and grew up in Swansea valley.  After 12 years of searching, Ans met both her father and mother’s side of her birth family again when she was in her early 30s.  She traced her mother with thanks to a taxi driver! 

Today, Ans lives in Cardiff with her husband Dave; 5 children, 3 grandchildren and 2 dogs.

Ans runs an adult adoptee group who meet online monthly, it’s an informal get-together where talk is open and in confidence. Whether in the process of searching, discovering or simply sharing feelings, it's a friendly place to turn and all are welcome.

Ans is passionate about having an open conversation around adoption and is keen to continue exploring ways of capturing learning and sharing knowledge between fellow adult adoptees and adopters.

Carol Hunter

Carol is an adult living with FASD and was adopted at a young age. She is a mum of three and works within the college sector as a guidance adviser as well as studying for a MA Crime and Justice with the Open University. Carol volunteers with the FASD Hub Scotland, Children’s Hearings Scotland and Open University promoting the voice of care experienced individuals and adults living with FASD Carol is passionate about widening participation and supporting individuals to reach their full potential. Carol is also the part-time Community and Engagement Lead with Adoption UK.

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