Are you concerned about your child’s reactive attachment disorder (or RAD)? Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy might help! ABA therapy can be a safe and effective tool to address RAD with often lasting and effective results. Get started and visit one of our ABA therapists to learn if ABA therapy is right for you and your child:
What Is Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)?
Reactive attachment disorder (RAD) is when a child hasn’t developed normal, healthy attachments with parents or other caregivers. This condition is rare but very serious. While RAD is most commonly seen in children who have been a part of the foster care system during early years, it is not limited. Reactive attachment disorder can happen when an infant or child does not receive comfort, attention, and nurturing early on. However, there can be many issues that can lead to reactive attachment disorder even if you have provided them with a loving, affectionate atmosphere.
The good news is that reactive attachment disorder can be treated by trained therapists or counselors. Through specialized therapy, your child can learn how to have positive interactions with you, other caregivers, and other children they socialize with as they grow. As a parent, if you notice your child may seem able to show or receive physical or emotional affection, it is important to address the issue as soon as possible. Contacting a professional to discuss these issues is essential to understand what your child is going through and be proactive in treatment.
What Are the Signs of RAD?
Although the signs and symptoms of reactive attachment disorder vary depending on circumstances, there are common symptoms that you may have noticed. Research shows between 1 to 2 percent of children have a reactive attachment disorder. Many children may experience some of these signs briefly at one point or another, but when it becomes an ongoing situation, the best thing you can do is seek help.
Some common examples of reactive attachment disorder include:
- Aversion to touch and normal contact
- Dislike of physical affection
- Jumpy to the touch
- Not smiling
- Watching others engage but not engaging
- Looking joyless and lacking positive facial expressions
- Withdrawl, irritability, or listlessness
- Inappropriate response to normal touches such as flinching, saying “ow,” or laughter
- Percieving physical touch as a threat
- Lack of affection and physical touch on the child’s end
These signs can be concerning, but when found and treated early your child can re-learn responses to positive affections. If you notice these signs in your child, consider having them evaluated by a professional.
Effects of Reactive Attachment Disorder
When considering contacting a professional to discuss whether your child may be suffering from RAD, it is important to keep in mind the potential long-term results that can occur if the issue goes untreated. Without proper treatment early on, RAD can continue for a long period of time, often having lifelong consequences that can affect your child’s emotional development. Some of these effects include:
- Unable to build healthy interpersonal relationships with peers or adults later in life
- An established aversion to physical touch
- Unable to have genuine feelings of compassion
- Unable to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships
- Anger problems and control issues
How Can ABA Therapy Help with Reactive Attachment Disorder?
ABA therapy has been very effective at treating reactive attachment disorder in infants and children. ABA therapy is highly beneficial if your child is suffering from RAD due to its unique approach to creating a highly-specialized therapy plan tailored to your child’s specific needs. It is also effective because ABA therapy steps outside the sessions to evaluate your child’s environment and interaction with people outside the home.
Your mental health professional is trained in specific coaching skills to treat and improve the symptoms of RAD. There are many approaches your ABA therapy professional will take based on your child’s specific signs, age, and background. First, they provide a nurturing and caring environment that will encourage your child to receive affection. Next, they create an interactive environment that stimulates your child. Also, they assess your child’s environment and interactions with you are the parents, siblings, and other caregivers in their life. ABA therapy professionals also offer you specialized classes, counseling, and education unique to your child’s specific RAD issues.
In conclusion, if your infant or young child is showing symptoms of active attachment disorder, the best thing you can do is discuss your concerns with a trained therapy professional. ABA therapy’s unique, tailored approach can help your child re-learn healthy attachments and expressions of affection.
Get Started Today!
Get started with ABA therapy for RAD today: