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Typs of RAD

Updated on October 10, 2012

Types of RAD

RAD is still a relatively new diagnosis, so the research and evaluations are still coming in. We have still to be able to observe over time how a child diagnosed with RAD develops as an adult.

There are differing ways of defining RAD, and of categorizing the different types. One way is to divide the demonstration of the condition into two groups: withdrawn and indiscriminate.

A child with the withdrawn type avoids close relationships of any kind. He does not share experiences, keeps secrets, prefers to be alone than with people. He dislikes physical touch, and his handshake or hug will be "wimpy". This is thought to be the more common type of RAD. This child does not make close friends and remains a loner.

A child with the indiscriminate type quickly bonds with anyone, even strangers, in a surface way. He may appear very outgoing, making friends quickly, but the relationships don't last. As soon as the thrill and newness wear off and it is time for intimacy to develop, the friendship ends and he is off to seek a new thrill. A girl with this type is in great danger of being molested because of her quick attachment to strangers and lack of boundaries.

In both situations relationships are developed not for mutual benefit, but to fill a need or want the child has, These children can become extremely adept at manipulating and pretending, and sometimes lie for no reason at all. They can play people against each other in order benefit themselves.

This is very hard for the parents of a RAD child. The child can be very charming and sweet in public, and aggressive and manipulative at home. Parents can feel isolated, because no one can understand why they have difficulty with such a sweet child. Very often one of the parents, usually the mother, who is the primary care giver, is the brunt of the aggression and the other doesn't see the extent of the problem. The child can then use this misunderstanding to play one against the other.

It is crucial that parents work together and have a united plan. It is very important to be consistent with discipline, having the same result for the same action every time with no exceptions. It is important for the parents to back each other up in the presence of the child. No one benefits when one tries to be the "good guy" while the other is the disciplinarian. They will both be manipulated. Inconsistent care caused the problem, consistent care, love and discipline, will lead in a healthier direction.

Here is a list of characteristics of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder:

Hurts, teases and is cruel to other children and/or animals.

Has difficulty keeping friends.

Deliberately breaks or ruins his/her and other's things.

Acts charmingly innocent even when caught in the act of doing something wrong.

Steals or acquires things with unbelievable stories to explain them.

Is hypervigilant.

Seems sneaky for no reason.

Doesn't appear to learn from mistakes.

Fabricates stories of neglect and abuse from caregivers.

Tells everyone of slight aches and pains.

Is stiff when hugged, unless s/he is seeking a hug.

Appears intelligent but underperforms in school.

Doesn't recognize real injuries or pain.

Is controlling.

Refuses comfort.

Avoids eye contact except when lying.

Is demanding.

Tantrums.

Hoards food.

Lies nonsensically.

Sets fires.

Talks non-stop and asks questions repeatedly.

Draws bloody pictures and enjoys violent cartoons.

Was adopted within 2 years of birth.

Was separated from parents within 2 years of birth.

Is overly friendly with strangers.

Is bossy with other children and siblings.

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