Some of my followers wanted to know what RAD really was and why I’ve spent so much time writing about it. I decided to do a blog and answer their questions.
Even though RAD has become the common description of the multiple behaviors damaged children have, a better way to describe it as Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD). This usually happens before age 5. It can cause lifelong issues for the child.
Some of the trauma occurs before birth, such as birthmothers use of alcohol or drugs while pregnant. Some of the trauma occurs when the infant or child experiences neglect or abandonment. Other traumas can occur with bodily injury or rape.
What happens next can be a major traumatic event in a child’s life. They enter foster care. The U.S. foster care system does not help the child because it adds more trauma to an already traumatic life. Many children have more than three different placements in a very short period of time.
REUNIFICATION: This is almost always traumatic to a child. No one, foster care workers or judges, have a clue what happens to a child’s brain when they try to place the child back with an original abuser. Judges have been known to give the abusive parents six months to change their behaviors and allow visitations with the child during that time frame.
When the six months are up, if the parent or parents have made even a minor move to get their lives in order, the judge will give them another six months. The child continues to experience an unsettled life. The child cannot form an attachment to anyone at that point.
Is RAD curable?
It can be, but for some children it’s always there. Oftentimes when a child is acting out in one home, they can do a total change around when the new family doesn’t have the same triggers as the previous family has.
There have been some children who begin to understand what happened to them was not their fault. They have made tremendous strides and can get the professional help they require to change.
Therapy for children with RAD does not work really well. Most times the children will manipulate the counselor and therefore they do not see RAD at all. A good attachment counselor is important to help the child.
What training should I receive to parent a child with RAD?
If you want to adopt an older child, you should check training classes or courses from your agency. Wasatch International Adoptions has a training course for families interested in adopting from either their Second Chance for Kids Adoption program and their R.A.D. Teen Adoption program. To see information about these programs, please check out our website: https://wiaa.org/the-rad-teen-adoption-program/
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N. Ann Lamphere was the first single adoptive parent in the State of Utah. She is the parent of a child from India that had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). She has a Master’s degree in Social Work. She was a director of an infant adoption agency. She has worked for Wasatch International Adoptions for 14 years and has been the social worker on the Second Chance program for the last 11 years. She is now working on the R.A.D. Teen program for the agency.