We’ve chosen to remain somewhat anonymous on this site - not because we’re trying to hide anything, and certainly not because we’re ashamed - but because we live in a fairly small town, and we don’t want any of our nephew’s friends and acquaintances happening upon this site while surfing the web and making the connection between him and his disorder. Although reactive attachment disorder requires that he have little or no privacy within our home, outside of the home it is another matter, and it is clear to me that the reactive attachment label wouldn’t make his already difficult relationships any easier.
After more than three years of attachment therapy and RAD parenting, I am pleased to report that our nephew is doing much better, so much so that his therapist recommended that he was no longer in need of regular therapy sessions.
He has learned empathy and responsibility. He has developed reasonable cause and effect thinking, and he has learned to make good choices, none of which implies that he always chooses to make the good choice. His emotional age has become unstuck and he is developing rapidly. While he still angers easily, he has made great progress in learning to control his anger and even to make reasonable argument in the midst of it. It has been months since he has become violent; and we hope, pray, and even dare to believe that we are beyond that.
For this, I would like to thank Stephanie, his therapist; Dr. Dan Hughes, who followed his treatment carefully, even meeting with us a couple of times; the authors of the several books from which we have gleaned the answers to many of the problems we faced; ATTACh, for putting on such a wonderful conference in Pittsburgh in 2004; everyone on our RadKid support forum, for being there to listen and to give advice; my wife, who persevered even when I was weak; and especially my nephew, for not giving up on himself, as he threatened to do many times.
For reasons of his privacy, I won’t go into any details but our nephew is eighteen years old now, and on his own - by his option. While I’d like to be able to say that he’s doing marvelous, the reality is that he still has a ways to go.
Nevertheless, I feel confident that we’ve given him the tools that he needs to take these continuing steps, and pray that he will use them. In the end, perhaps that all that any of us can do.
I am not a therapist or medical professional, but an experienced and well-read parent. Nevertheless, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have to the best of my ability, or to refer you to someone who can. Better yet, join us in our forum, hosted by Delphi Forums.
-- ken & michelle anderson