Sunday, April 12, 2015

Entering into life with a RAD child

RAD...what is that...never heard of it before....

RAD is reactive attachment disorder.  It is a very serious, all consuming disorder that affects a small population of children and can stay with them into adulthood. RAD is categorized by markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate ways of relating socially in most contexts.

RAD can occur when failure to form and recieve proper attachment/bonding relationships in infancy.  Such failure could result from severe early experiences of neglect, abuse and abrupt separation from caregivers.  RAD is also more common in Eastern Europoean countries.  Karis is a classic candidate for RAD...and has it.

There is a list of common traits/symptoms of people with RAD. Here are the ones we deal with on a daily basis.
Physically self-destructive....self harming
Aggression towards others
Abnormal eating habits
Inappropriate sexual attitude
Learning disability... Knows more than they let on in order to control parents and teachers
Not affectionate on parents terms (hugging in public and nothing in private)
Flat, listless, lethargic
Inappropriate emotional responses
Superficially charming and engaging
Indiscriminate affection with strangers
Lack of peer relationships
Blames others for her own mistakes
Victimizes others
Exploitative, manipulative, controlling
Poor hygiene
Accident prone
High pain tolerance/overreaction to minor injury
Lack of remorse/consequences

Our time in Ukraine with Karis was great along with our first month or two at home.  Things began going down hill in November and by Christmas they were bad.  We thought we hit an all time low.  Unfortunately since then things have continued to worsen.  We are amazed that things can actually get worse and worse, but they are.  In January Karis began seeing a therapist weekly.  We have increased these therapy sessions to 3x/week.  Our therapist here also suggested for Karis and our family to travel to Evergreen, Colorado to the Evergreen Psychotherapy Center for a 2 week intense psychotherapy intervention.  We spoke with the doctors there and they feel she has a severe case of RAD and she will only get worse until she has intense intervention.  We will travel to Evergreen May 2-17.  We are really hoping this intervention will work for Karis.  This is not the most opportune time for our family to be gone.  Preston will miss the last two weeks of the semester along with graduation.  Logan will miss two weeks of school along with his art show and gymnastics exhibition. Nathan and Owen will miss two weeks of school and their last baseball game of the season.  However, it is important for our family to function, heal and become whole.

Long, Overdue Update

It has been almost a month since my last post.  I figure it is time for some updates.

Logan: is doing great.  He is venturing into the world of orthodontics on Tuesday.  It is our consult appointment, so I am not sure what the path will be...but he needs some work done.  He is still enjoying his extra curricular activities very much and is looking forward to swim team this summer.  He is enjoying writing his book series, now on book 18.

Nathan: loves anything electronic.  His absolute favorite thing to do is sit on his bench and play the iPad.  He loves Starfall and will spend an hour plus working on the math equations, reading the books, listening to different composers, etc.  He is also doing really well with his talking computer.  He is constructing sentences and is able to communicate exactly what he wants and needs.  He has two new devices for his right arm.  He is still getting used to them and we are getting some adjustments made to them this week.  He is also starting a few power wheelchair trials this month to see if this is a possibility for the near future.  Nathan also loves jumping on the trampoline and swinging in the backyard. He is definitely an outdoor kid.

Owen: is really starting to come back around.  He is becoming more and more proficient with his eye gaze, along with his talking.  He is going to be looking at a new wheelchair on Monday.  He loves spending time outside too and loves when get out the bubble gun and he gets to pop lots of bubbles.  He is really enjoying playing baseball!  I am so glad he and Nathan are finally old enough to be on th team.

Karis: her transition into the family is still really, really ROUGH.  She is receiving 3 appointments a week of psychotherapy.  She also has 4 appointments a week of in-home speech therapy.  This is a busy week for her.  Tuesday morning we have a pre-op pediatrician appointment and Thursday she is having a dental procedure at Children's South....lots of cavities filled at one time so she is getting anesthesia.

Our family was honored to be asked to be the feature family for the National UCP Fundraising Campaign.  A letter and accompanying brochure about our family's story was sent to donors/prospective donors all over the US.  Logan was so excited because he felt very famous.

Spring break was just a few weeks ago.  We started off with a fun trip to the Space and Rocket Center with our friends, The Schwartings.  Brian and Evan were also able to meet us there for a little bit.  Sunday we enjoyed an Easter Egg Hunt at Samford with Ranae and Cooper and a big family dinner at my parents house.  Monday was a trip to the Zoo with Ranae and Cooper.  On Tuesday we crammed in tons of appointments and Wednesday we packed the car and headed to Texas.  We spent several days visiting our friends, The Cooks and then headed back to Birmingham.  It was a great week!