XP: Reactive Attachment Disorder? — The Bump
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XP: Reactive Attachment Disorder?

My niece was recently diagnosed with this.  I was pointed towards your board for help.  Can you recommend books, support groups, activities, etc.?  Really anything to help my sister would be much appreciated.

 Thanks!

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Re: XP: Reactive Attachment Disorder?

  • hi! i'm not sure if it was an international adoption or not.... but we're adopting from Korea, and read a book called something like "Parenting your internationally adopted Child from the first hours through the school years"- something like that. its a THICK book, but definitely has a lot of good information about how to build attachment with a child who didn't come to you as a newborn, and about how to deal with all of the "tough" adoption issues.

       i'm not sure about support groups... but if she adopted through an agency, she should be able to contact them for ideas. We're using a big agency with offices all over the US, and they have all kinds of resources for stuff like this...

  • Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is reactive attachment disorder?
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  • It's a disorder essentially caused by lack of attention and love as a baby.

     

    schneider, my brother's daughter also has RAD. Here's a list of support groups and info sources to help your sister get started. It can be a long road healing a RAD kid, but I'm sure it's worth it to help your LO. Best wishes to her and her family!

    http://www.radkid.org/rad_sites.html

     

     

  • welcometomybrain blog

    Beyond Consequenses

  •   It really depends on what school of thought they choose to follow for therapy since there are a couple of different theories for treatment. I, personally, would find the most experienced attachment therapist in the state and start with them. I think there is at least one center in CO that is well known. Some people swear by the book Beyond Consequences, but others are absolutely opposed to it because it's too authoritarian and isn't as relationship-based as someone like Daniel Hughes (his books are DRY, but informative). Some of it depends on her age.

       For you, the best thing that you can do is trust that your sister is telling the truth, period. My son does not have RAD, but he does have attachment issues that are just the logical result of his previous environment. The most irritating thing to me is when I say he does "x-y-z" and someone says..."Oh, we don't see that at all," etc. (For example, he has special needs and acts "out of control" during tantrums so they don't hold him accountable. He is SO playing them, but I understand how it looks to them.) 

  • The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog by Perry is a great book.

    Attachment therapy is really dangerous and is actually illegal in 3 states because it caused the deaths of a few children. Some of the things they do are to force children to bond with their caregiver by holding them down or "rebirthing" them by sitting on them and pushing them through really tight tubes. I would highly recommend avoiding attachment therapy. (I think sometimes people get attachment parenting and attachment therapy confused; they're not at all the same thing.)

    Just google Candace Newmaker... there is tons of info about her death as it was a high profile one.

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  •  I've spoken with several attachment therapists who absolutely did not believe in any of the things you talked about such as rebirthing, etc. Maybe the therapists just have their terminology wrong? I'm thinking more along the lines of Karen Purvis, etc. 
  • Attachment therapy does not necessarily equal or include holding therapy/techniques, which are the dangerous and highly contested practices.  Attachment therapy can just be therapy that focuses on rebuilding a person's ability to make secure attachments.  This is why this topic needs to be thoroughly researched by the parents, so they can find a therapist with whose techniques they feel completely comfortable.

    My son does not have RAD, but does have attachment difficulties as a result of his early history.  Two books I highly, highly recommend are:

    Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow - This book is a great resource to giving you a background on attachment issues, why kids have them, and what kinds of help are available.  It gives great tips on how to parent a child with attachment problems, and although my son's problems aren't as extreme as most of the cases in the book, this book is in many ways a dictionary to his behaviors.  Without this book, I don't know how we would have gotten through the first year with any success!

    Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families - This book helps parents know they are not alone.  It's very validating and provides a lot of insight into the way families respond to the chaos a child with attachment problems can bring.  It has a great section on different types of attachment therapies, and why it's so important for parents to do their research and find something that they are comfortable with, and includes an extensive appendix with an unbelievable number of resources for families.  This is one of my favorite books for parents dealing with hurt children!

    For a more extreme approach, Nancy Thomas's CD "Healing Trust" (http://www.attachment.org/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=attachment&Product_Code=136&Category_Code=ALL) is worth listening to.  She does use holding and some other techniques that I personally think are a bit didactic and too authoritarian, but she has a proven track record and works with the most difficult cases.  I think that with many of her cases it's possible that she may really need to be much more extreme than most parents.  I recommend listening to this CD or reading one of her other books because she explains many of the reasons these kids have difficulties and talks about real examples of how the difficulties manifest as behaviors.  Listening to this CD was the first time I felt like I wasn't crazy, seeing the behaviors I did in my son.  I think that with his CD and her other writings, you just have to take what works and leave the rest.

    In fact, that may be one of the most important things.  If I didn't modify things as I went along to match my son's behaviors, I don't think we would have gotten very far.  It's important to make sure you are flexible when dealing with a child with attachment difficulties/RAD, and that you are willing to do whatever works for your specific child.

    This is not going to be an easy road, but there is hope!  I wish them all the success in the world, and if she ever wants to come here to discuss, I'm usually around (although I don't have the most experience, as my son doesn't actually have RAD, but I'm always willing to listen and lend an ear)!


  • image SoSweet06:

    For you, the best thing that you can do is trust that your sister is telling the truth, period. My son does not have RAD, but he does have attachment issues that are just the logical result of his previous environment. The most irritating thing to me is when I say he does "x-y-z" and someone says..."Oh, we don't see that at all," etc. (For example, he has special needs and acts "out of control" during tantrums so they don't hold him accountable. He is SO playing them, but I understand how it looks to them.) 

    SoSweet, I think this is referred to as "triangulation" or "splitting."  My son does it, too.  He seems like the perfect kid to everyone on the outside, but is completely different to us.  Also, he is completely different with me than with my husband.  He also would try to convince the therapist that he was acting out for all sorts of deep reasons, when he'd admit to us (and even to her, when he was called out on it), that it was just because he didn't like what we were asking of him.

    My son can also play it the other way.  He had a crush on our social worker here, and was trying to play it "cool" when she was around.  So, he's been having the time of his life with J, really being an awesome big brother (although giving my husband and I a pretty hard time in other ways), but when the social worker would ask him how things are going, he's say they were bad and that his brother annoys him and is ruining his days.  Meanwhile, he's asking to sleep in the same room, spending all his free time with him, looking out for him, playing together, and generally having a blast with him.  GRRRR!!!


  • This topic was just covered in our foster continuing education class this past weekend. 

    I can't paste from window to window on my iPad. So you can google The Institute for Child and Family Development. 

    Dr. Hornyak also is part of the ATTACh organization tat specializes in helping families who are having attachment difficulties. They ave many many resources.  

  • The Connected Child by Dr Karyn Purvis
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    Oh, Savannah! Your brothers are THAT bad!</p>


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