I am using the third Wednesday of every month to talk about how Reactive Attachment Disorder is showing up in the news. Fortunately or unfortunately, it doesn’t all that often. I say that because when it does, the news is never good. There’s no stories about breakthroughs in treatment or NIH grants or doctors who are dedicating their life’s work to the disorder. The stories are about children who, through no fault of their own, have done something that seems monstrous. This requires the family to do something which in turn makes them seem even more monstrous. And the misunderstanding of RAD continues.
This story from Texas from this past April was short and sweet but I’m sure the parents seem both wonderful and horrible for their actions. Watch the coverage for yourself here. You’ll notice there’s a link at the bottom which will take you to more information about the facility where their daughter is currently living.
In the past, I have seen some other news stories about children with RAD which have made my heart break and my skin crawl. The mother in Tennessee who put her child alone on a plane back to Russia because she couldn’t control him anymore. That story you can read here. And it’s got a different name but it’s not just an American issue. Read the story of a UK family here.
I could fill this post with links to articles. The point of this post is that the news about Reactive Attachment Disorder is never good. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising given how little effort is being made to understanding and treating the disorder. I wasn’t surprised to read that the family in Texas said the doctors they went to hadn’t heard of RAD, It was August’s fourth therapist that diagnosed him with RAD. This is plus two primary care physicians who’d seen him over the years. Also school counselors and other specialists. Nothing in what we were given or told by the adoption agency prepared us for what we experienced as he got older.
Getting onto the front page with positive stories about children with RAD will probably always be a struggle. I know a man who lives nearby and also writes a blog about his early traumatized adopted children. He has a son who is doing tremendous work overcoming his challenges through running. He’s getting terrific press for his accomplishments. We need more of those. Please check out his blog here.
August made the news when he got arrested. I heard from a lot of friends who recognized him from his mug shot. It wouldn’t have explained away what he did, but I would have loved the chance to talk to the press about his history. What he’d been through. Not to gain sympathy but just to inform. My bigger goal beyond this blog is to work with law enforcement to help them understand RAD. Particularly in the juvenile system so they can see these children in the proper light. Some day.
Climbing down off my soap box now. My request to you is when you see children in the news that have done horrible things look at anything written about their family history. Children aren’t born wanting to hate and do bad things. They just aren’t.
Until next time,