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Belibaste 03-03-2008 05:08 PM

Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
RAD affects thousands of adoptive families on a daily basis and yet I cannot find any UK based support groups on-line. They all seem to be US based.

I know that it is a long shot but, does anyone know of any UK based groups?



happyhour 03-03-2008 05:55 PM

Bel, as I understand it RAD is compartmentalised within the Autistic spectrum - but I may be wrong of course! My son is autistic/aspergers and we have had great support from Autism Speaks - if you think I'm on the right track and you haven't tried them, let me know & I'll dig out the details.

Belibaste 03-03-2008 06:35 PM

Thanks for your post HH.

You are quite right in that RAD and autism have incredibly similar symptoms and I am sure that some children with RAD have been diagnosed as autistic. My understanding though (and I am sure you will correct me if I am wrong- and please do!) is that although the exact cause of autism has not been verified, the consensus is that the functioning of the brain is not affected by parenting but, is rather a pre-existing condition or can it be triggered by a virus (?)

In the case of RAD, the child's brain function has been affected by poor or inconsistent parenting coupled with neglect, physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse usually within the first three years of life. A very simplistic description would be that because the child has not had his or her needs consistently met and has had to cope with life or death situations in early life, he or she is in a constant state of fight or flight which never gets soothed adequately. This constant release of stress hormone (cortisol) floods the brain at the very time it (the brain) does most of its development.

This can mean (but, doesn't always if help is obtained quickly enough) that as the child gets older he or she lives in a constant elevated state of fear, even of everyday things and self soothing is not possible because it was not learned in early life. This can lead to an inablility to control impulses, difficulty with peer relationships, lack of eye contact,lack of ability to give/accept affection, violence, vandalism, t h e f t, cruelty, self harm, l y in g, and incredible rages. I know that some of these symptoms resonate with parents who have autistic children - it is just the cause which is different I think.

My question was really to establish why no-one has set up an independent help group when so many adoption breakdowns are occurring because of this disorder. Children are going back into the care system because their adopters cannot cope with the associated extreme behaviour and they need somewhere to go outside social services for support. As we are soon going to take a break from fostering I am looking into the viability of a UK site because it would seem that there isn't one at the moment.

happyhour 03-03-2008 09:15 PM

I've also had a quick look Bel - & tried the Charity Commission's register of charities and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and I can't find anything.
I shall speak to my friend who is a Doctor of Psychotherapy - she's pretty good on support groups and similar.

And I'm no expert, but everything you say about RAD sounds right to me.

Belibaste 03-03-2008 09:58 PM

Thank you HH


TANZARELLI 04-03-2008 01:05 PM

Keys Attachment Centre

Hurstwood Court
New Hall Hey Road
Tel: 01706 227226
Fax: 01706 224500

Belibaste 04-03-2008 03:22 PM

Thanks for that Tanz. We are on the way to having some more therapy sorted out although it has to be through a convoluted route due to lack of resources. I think that there needs to be a UK based support group so that parents can let off steam a bit. As is the case with most little understood conditions, the way we parent cannot be the norm and is therefore open to being misinterpreted even by other family members. It is always useful to be able to talk to people in the same position.

Hmm, food for thought..

TANZARELLI 05-03-2008 12:10 AM

No probs Bel, not sure if that link is of use but it could be worth emailing them to see if they know of any support groups local to you.

Hope your well mate.


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