Does Jason Have Reactive Attachment Disorder?

 

I think this has been the question since the dawn of time.  Should women work outside the home or not?  My husband once again told me to get a job.  I guess I don’t work with raising my children.  How dare he!  My son alone is a full time job.  He is having so much difficulty right now.  He is dealing with ADHD possibly bipolar.  According to the school, he might have Reactive Attachment Disorder.  I know my mind went blank when they said it so I looked it up on the internet.  The Mayo Clinic says:

Reactive attachment disorder is a rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers.

A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused or orphaned. Reactive attachment disorder develops because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurting the ability to establish future relationships.

Reactive attachment disorder is a lifelong condition, but with treatment children can develop more stable and healthy relationships with caregivers and others. Safe and proven treatments for reactive attachment disorder include psychological counseling and parent or caregiver education.

Lifelong condition….  Jason came through the foster care system.  He was taken when he was three weeks old from his biological parents.  He was sitting in broken glass from picture frames. I am positive that if he was found that way, he could not have been in a nurturing or loving environment.  Then he was sent to a relative that had ten kids varying in age but the youngest were quads that were only a little older than him.  He was told that they were his siblings.  Jason tells me that he was told that.  I do not know that for sure.  He was then pulled from this home after two years and placed in a foster home with a mother and another child.  He was told to call them mom and the child was again his sibling.  When he came to us, he was told that my daughter was his sister.  Recently, I had the discussion with him finally understanding that he did not know that my daughter was truly his biological sister.  As adults, we understand biological but a child doesn’t.  I talked with him about the fact that they were siblings.  He didn’t understand at all.  I pulled out a picture of them together and explained once again that they shared the same biological mother.

I asked Jason if he saw any similarities between them.

He said: “We share the same eyebrows.  The color of our hair.  Eye color and smile.  Wow we look alike, mom.”

Me:  ”Did you share the same with the others?”

He said:  ”No.  We are brother and sister.  I see it now.”

To Jason, that is it.  It is as simple as that.  They look alike so it’s true.  I hope and pray every day that settles it in his heart as well.

Now let’s look at the symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder per Mayo Clinic:

Reactive attachment disorder begins before age 5. Signs and symptoms of the disorder may begin when the child is still an infant.  

Signs and symptoms in toddlers, older children and adolescents may include:

  • Withdrawing from others
  • Avoiding or dismissing comforting comments or gestures
  • Acting aggressively toward peers
  • Watching others closely but not engaging in social interaction
  • Failing to ask for support or assistance
  • Obvious and consistent awkwardness or discomfort
  • Masking feelings of anger or distress
  • Alcohol or drug abuse in adolescents

As children with reactive attachment disorder grow older, they may develop either inhibited or disinhibited behavior patterns. While some children have signs and symptoms of just one type of behavior, many exhibit both types.

  • Inhibited behavior. Children with inhibited behavior shun relationships and attachments to virtually everyone. This may happen when a baby never has the chance to develop an attachment to any caregiver.
  • Disinhibited behavior. Children with disinhibited behavior seek attention from virtually everyone, including strangers. This may happen when a baby has multiple caregivers or frequent changes in caregivers. Children with this type of reactive attachment disorder may frequently ask for help doing tasks, have inappropriately childish behavior or appear anxious.

There’s little research on signs and symptoms of reactive attachment disorder beyond early childhood. It may lead to controlling, aggressive or delinquent behaviors, trouble relating to peers, and other problems. While treatment can help children and adults cope with reactive attachment disorder, the changes that occur during early childhood are permanent and the disorder is a lifelong challenge.

Begins before they are 5 years old.  By the age of 3, Jason had been part of three families.  Jason’s symptoms include:  withdrawing from others, avoiding comforting gestures, acting aggressively toward peers, watching others but not engaging, failing to ask for support or assistance, discomfort.  As well as hurting small children and small animals, no empathy and extreme anger fits, extremely moody and easily hurt by others emotionally.  Jason does attach to everyone.  I mean everyone.  It is a concern because there are predators out there.

His situation makes me wonder how many foster and adoptive children suffer from this.  I am getting him help.  I am searching for a new doctor as well as trying to get him into Children’s Hospital where the best doctors are.  Does Jason have this?  I think so but I want a professional tell me how to help him.

Adopting a child is a blessing but you do have to be prepared to accept them and love them unconditionally no matter what the issue is.


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