Saturday, May 3, 2008

what is reactive attachment disorder?

what is reactive attachment disorder? after 2 years, we're still figuring that out. but basically, when children are neglected, they don't learn to develop attachments with people. to put it more bluntly, because our kids had sucky first parents, they don't know how to love us or let us love them. it's not that they don't want to, they really don't know how.
it's not always sucky parents either, as a reader recently scolded me. it could be trauma during birth, childhood illnesses, etc, so good parents can have kids with RAD too! mine just happened to have sucky ones. i'm not generalizing that all RAD kids have sucky parents, just mine. i don't know your kids. :)

here's a great article by gregory keck. here's another good article by nancy thomas.

here are the symptoms and how we finally figured out what was going on with the kids. the last one sealed the deal for us! many of these have improved greatly now!
i added our experiences in italics and wow, it's pretty sad to see it listed like this!

superficially engaging & charming - they can charm the pants off anyone!
• lack of eye contact on parents terms - they only looked us in the eye if they were lying
• indiscriminately affectionate with strangers - they don't know a stranger, love on anyone
• not affectionate on parents’ terms - not cuddly, don't like to sit in our laps or hug
• destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone) - always breaking toys, falling
• cruelty to animals - oh the poor dog and cat, and may the one kitten rest in peace :(
• lying about the obvious (crazy lying) - not the usual get out of trouble kind, just stupid stuff
• stealing - this one hasn't been bad at all! they seem too afraid to steal.
• no impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive) - oh my, they were completely wild at first
• learning lags - way ahead in some areas, way behind in others
• lack of cause and effect thinking (no logic) - so frustrating, they really, really have no logic
• lack of conscience - very sad. they don't realize they're inconsiderate at all.
• abnormal eating patterns - this hasn't been too bad. they do worry about what's next though.
• poor peer relationships - they prefer adults and are immature for their age, improving though
• preoccupation with fire - oh yeah
• preoccupation with blood & gore - yeah and death, oh they must say die 50 times a day
• persistent nonsense questions & chatter - oh my word, it's honestly horrible
• inappropriately demanding & clingy - this wasn't too bad
• abnormal speech patterns - mr has speech issues, but also lost some teeth, so unsure still
• triangulation of adults (pitting mom against dad or therapists/teachers against parents) - tried
• false allegations of abuse - haven't seen this fortunately
• presumptive entitlement issues - yep, serve me now, i will not ask, things should just appear before me
• parents appear hostile and angry - people think we are nuts!


Michelle said...

Hi. I have just reacently been awarded legal guardianship of my nephew (2 1/2) and we have begun therapy suggested by our physician. I knew we had food allergies and I wondered if that affected his behavior. Afer we got him off of gluten all together the behavior continued. The psycologist has diagnosed him as RAD with possible Asbergers Syndrome. I wonder if anyone knows if a fathers alcoholism and binge drinking could have affected this child's brain that is causing all of this turmoil. Most of the time I feel soooo overwhelmed and ashamed on the days I feel like I can't continue. I am determined to give this child a normal life whatever that may consist of. I know that my life will never be the same. But when we have those stolen moments (few and far between) where we are allowed to hug and show love my heart melts all over again. It seems to help heal wounds until the next time he bites hits or plays the "I want it" "No, I don't Want it" but "I really want it" "But I really don't" game.
I am sooooo confused. He does not have reasoning capablities nor does he want to cooperate. Any ideas that help. My new thing is to thank him in advance for doing what I ask him to do. When I ask him to pick up a toy or a shoe, it is usually responded by a sharp NO and dirty look. When I go to do it, then he is severly insulted and throws himself down like a sprayed roach and screams. Now that I praise him after I ask and he says no, he looks a little confused and completes the task. I am not sure how long that will continue to work but it does help issues. I welcome any help and ideas anyone has.