Reactive Attachment Disorder
Reactive attachment disorder can develop when a child fails to receive adequate comfort and nurturing from caregivers. An main feature is that the child exhibits an absent or grossly underdeveloped level of attachment towards caregiving adults compared to what is normal or expected. Children with reactive attachment disorder are believed to have the capacity to form selective attachments; that is, there is nothing neurobiologically or medically wrong that can explain a child’s failure to form a secure relationship with parents or other caregivers. However, because of limited healthy physical contact and nurturance during early development (e.g, neglect), they fail to show the behavioral manifestations of selective attachments.
- They handle their emotions independently.
- Do not look for or reach for caregivers for support, nurturance, or protection.
- Lack a preferred attachment figure.
- Lack an interest in playing interactive games.
- Will not ask questions.
- When caregivers do sporadically make the effort to comfort the child, the child with this disorder will not respond reciprocally. For example, if a parent were to go to comfort their child when he/she is distressed, the child may appear confused, aloof, or fail to hug the adult back. The child may fail to reach out when picked up.