Foster Care Children with Reactive Attachment Disorder
This story sends a powerful message to adoptive parents. Reader Yolanda Rodriguez urges me to open discussions about fostering a baby or young child who has RAD and how children are diagnosed.
Yolanda Rodriguez says, “Please research Reactive Attachment Disorder asap! I adopted a special needs little girl, whose parents abused drugs and alcohol during pregnancy and neglected the baby during the first three months of her life before giving up their parental rights… results were endless diagnosis, FAS, ADHD, ODD… the worst of all RAD! This child is afraid to love and misbehaves in order to turn you away from them, worse is the lack of treatment coverage by insurance, little expertise about it in the medical field, and not too much effective support available for parents, families and the child itself.”
Yolanda tell me that private agencies should explain this condition during the foster-to-adopt domestic programs. “RAD can happen easily to an infant when they are not nurtured, they do not necessarily need to be listed as a Special Needs child. But they are!”
Yolanda, I want to discuss this topic without potential parents becoming more wary of adopting an older child. I want people to become educated about it. What I found:
RAD can be a serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers, according to the Mayo Clinic and other adoption experts.
A child with RAD has been neglected, abused or orphaned and the condition develop because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and caring attachments are never established.
Whip out the tissues for this one: RAD may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships.
Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition but begins before age 5. Signs and symptoms in babies may include:
- Withdrawn, sad appearance, no smiling
- Failure to reach out when picked up
- No interest in playing peekaboo or other interactive games
- No interest in playing with toys
- Engaging in self-soothing behavior, such as rocking or self-stroking
- Calm when left alone
Some of the causes of attachment problems are subtle and often go unrecognized. Symptoms in toddlers and older children may include:
- Withdrawing from others
- Avoiding or dismissing comforting comments or gestures
- Acting aggressively toward peers
- Watching others closely but not engaging in social interaction
- Failing to ask for support or assistance
- Obvious awkwardness or discomfort
- Masking feelings of anger or distress
- Alcohol or drug abuse in adolescents
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