What is Attachment?
Attachment and attachment disorders have become more commonplace in diagnosing children with social relationship problems. Attachment refers to the deep connection that a child has for their caregiver. Young children with a secure attachment to a caregiver use this base to explore their world. Children who have experienced early problems with attachment - abuse or neglect for example - are theorized to experience social relationship problems later in life. In severe cases children can receive the diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), characterized by a markedly disturbed capacity to social relate to others in an appropriate way.
There are problems with accurately diagnosing RAD, namely that it can exist with other psychological and medical problems such as trauma and fetal alcohol syndrome. However, there are treatment options for repairing attachment ruptures and improving the social capacity in children. These focus on the coping skills of both the caregiver and the child. RAD is not untreatable.
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Terance is a mental health therapist focusing on children and families.