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Reactive Attachment Disorder (R.A.D.) and Developmental Trauma are attachment-based disorders that affect many adopted and foster children. When children do not get their needs met in early childhood between 0 and 3 years of age, the brain does not develop properly. The neurotransmitters normally in place to establish healthy growth in the brain are disrupted leaving gaps in some areas and other areas unable to make the connections needed for unimpaired functioning. For example, some kids have no ability to relate cause and effect, they may have no impulse control, or they may be able to function cognitively at a high level one day and below normal another day.

These problems exacerbate over time and without interventions, many children grow up and have mental illnesses in the form of personality disorders in adulthood. Children exhibit many of the following behaviors:

  • Indiscriminately seeking affection/comfort from strangers
  • Anti-social behaviors (e.g., lying, stealing, defiance, opposition, manipulating, destructiveness, cruelty, fire-setting, aggression)
  • Lack of authenticity, spontaneity, flexibility, and empathy
  • Lack of physical affection and closeness and/or inappropriate clinginess
  • Poor eye contact
  • Hypervigilant
  • Problems with learning, attending, self-regulating, self-monitoring
  • Abnormal eating and elimination patterns (e.g., wetting, soiling, hoarding food)
  • False allegations of abuse from caregivers (adoptive parents, guardians, foster parents)
  • Triangulation of adults (school staff, other parent, therapist, etc.)
  • Persistent social and emotional disturbance into adulthood
  • Failure to ask for support or assistance
  • Attention-Seeking
  • Lack of a preference to parents over other people (indiscriminate sociability)

Together We Can Change a Child's Life!

The effects of childhood trauma, left untreated, affect society as a whole. These children are at risk of drug use, incarceration, homelessness, teen pregnancy, for becoming victims of sex traffickers, mental illness in the form of personality disorders, and at best they make very poor relationship choices and have consistently failed relationships throughout their lives.