OKLAHOMA CITY – Bonding with your baby is one of the most precious moments in a parent and a child’s life.
But if an infant doesn’t get the attachment it needs there could be stark results.
“It’s so difficult when you bring a child with RAD into the home because there’s such little knowledge of the problem,” Charlie Brown, advocate for RAD treatment, said.
RAD is short for Reactive Attachment Disorder, a rare condition that can lead to severe psychological issues.
“The worst case of those are the kids who become gang members, serial killers,” Brown said. “They’re the ones when there’s a school shooting it’s a RAD kid.”
Serial killers Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy were diagnosed with the rare mental illness.
- Low Self-Esteem
- Lack of Self Control
- Aggression and Violence
- Lack of Empathy, Compassion and Remorse
“When they have no attachment to others, they don’t develop a conscience. They truly don’t care what you feel or think,” Brown said.
It’s more common for children under DHS care who were abused or neglected.
Jennifer Rankin and her husband recently adopted 9-year-old Kinzie.
“So for the first nine months things were really pretty good and then the behaviors started trickling in,” Rankin said.
Lying, stealing and fits of rage that would last more than an hour started to happen.
“She’s had to be in control of her life because it’s constant survival so there hasn’t been a safe adult in her mind,” Rankin said.
Now she has found help, including breathing exercises and giving her daughter fewer options.
“We started seeing significant improvements. I think anxiety went down,” Rankin said. “I think she is beginning to start to trust us to meet her needs so she doesn’t have to rely on herself.”
She and her family will go to the first Oklahoma RAD camp this summer to get more support and bring back laughter to the home.
Brown says it’s important to note the child exhibits the symptoms more with the mother.
He also said traditional therapy can have the opposite effects for a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder.
The RAD camp is August 7-13. They are looking for volunteers to help.