Five Red Flags for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)

Symptoms of RAD

  • Lack of Emotional Responses
  • Rejection of Support
  • Constant Crying
  • Need to Be Alone
  • Lack of Interest

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a medical condition also referred to as RAD. The condition makes it extremely difficult for children to form bonds with their parents or guardians and with anyone else they spend time around. It can continue causing problems as the child ages and reaches adulthood. Parents can look for some of the signs or red flags of RAD in their biological children and any kids they care for or adopt.

Lack of Emotional Responses

Children begin showing their emotions at an early age. They learn how to smile and coo when they see someone they like and form a connection with those who are always around them. Children suffering from RAD do not show the same emotional reactions and responses. Instead of lifting their arms and smiling at an adult, these children maintain the same expressions on their faces around strangers as they do loved ones.

Rejection of Support

According to the Mayo Clinic, children suffering from RAD often present red flags and symptoms around the age of five. The Mayo Clinic points out that one of the more common symptoms is that the children reject the support given to them. Instead of seeking out a parent after falling down or when feeling sad, these children may go to great lengths to avoid seeking help. They also tend to reject any physical or emotional support given to them.

Constant Crying

Human beings form connections to other people at a young age. They learn that they can turn to those adults whenever they need help. Kids suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder do not have the chance to form those connections. When they are upset or angry, they do not know how to turn to others or how to get the help that they need. Many of these children show their frustrations through constant crying. No matter what the adults in their lives do, the children will not feel comforted.

Need to Be Alone

Another red flag associated with RAD occurs when the individual feels the need to be alone most of the time. Even shy kids will still seek out others to play with or talk to in social situations like at parties or at school. Kids diagnosed with RAD have a hard time reaching out to other children and with forming bonds with those kids. They may watch other children playing and hanging around with each other and make the choice to avoid interacting in any way. This often occurs because the children do not know how to connect with or even talk to others because they think that people will always leave them.

Lack of Interest

People of all ages occasionally display a lack of interest in certain activities. Kids in elementary school may not want to play soccer or any of the other games that their peers play because they don’t feel good or because they would rather do other things. It’s important that parents and teachers keep an eye on children who consistently show a lack of interest in the activities that kids in that age group typically enjoy. This can indicate that the child suffers from RAD.

Reactive Attachment Disorder is a condition that typically affects those who spent their early years in orphanages or multiple foster homes. They remember the lack of empathy and the lack of support they had during their early years and carry those feelings with them. Guardians, parents and teachers can all look for the red flags associated with RAD in children of all ages.

Another helpful resource:

Top 25 Online Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)