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How We Treat Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) At Sundance Canyon Academy

What Is It?

Reactive Attachment Disorder, commonly referred to as RAD, is a condition that occurs when the bond between a child and his primary caregiver is severely disrupted. During the time from birth to the age of three, children require loving and consistent interaction with a parent for healthy brain development. RAD is often found in children that have experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment or even simply the loss of a critical parent through death, divorce or illness. Adopted children and those who frequently change caregivers during the early years are also at risk.

What Are The Symptoms?

Reactive Attachment Disorder is characterized by an individual’s inability to develop healthy emotional attachments or lasting bonds with others. Some of the other symptoms are:

  1. Violent tendencies

  2. Antisocial behavior

  3. Resistant to physical affection or comfort

  4. Lack of guilt, shame or empathy

  5. Generalized personality disorders

The symptoms associated with RAD put teens more at risk for behaviors such as substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, poor academic performance, depression and self-harm.Because kids with RAD do not trust the love and affection they are offered, they often sabotage and manipulate others in order to control the situation, which is particularly damaging to family relationships.

Why is Sundance Canyon Academy Different?

Sundance Canyon Academy’s program is unique in that we do not implement behavior modification techniques. Rather, our relationship based approach includes high value interaction where kids can learn how to set appropriate boundaries for themselves and manage their disorder. Teens work closely with their parents, therapists, psychiatrist and staff in order to develop the skills they need to build healthy relationships. Our model is particularly effective for those suffering from RAD because attachment problems are the core of the problem.

Sundance implements a choice based system which sets clear expectations for each resident. The rules are consistently reminded and prompted and each boy chooses to lose access to an activity or a reward if he breaks the trust of the house. We provide various types of therapeutic activities which include culinary, recreational and music therapies in addition to the usual individual, group and family options. These experiences are designed to reach troubled teens on a personal level and lead to the inner changes they need in order to overcome their challenges and develop healthy attachments.

While RAD students go through the same program as the other residents, they generally get less parental involvement in the beginning. Without their parents, they must go into survival mode where they learn rely on the therapists and staff and begin the hard work of relationship building. Our intensive aftercare program helps both RAD teens and their parents gain the skills they need for a successful transition home.

We know that the challenges associated with reactive attachment disorder can cause disharmony throughout the whole family and we are here to help you navigate the healing process. We have helped hundreds of teens with RAD learn how to manage their disorder and go on to lead healthy and successful lives. For more information about our program or a consultation with one of our qualified staff, please contact us today at 866-678-2425.

Although there is no absolute cure for boys with reactive attachment disorder, there is still hope for the parents of boys with RAD. Sundance Canyon Academy is a residential treatment center that helps boys suffering from reactive attachment disorder. The effects and common issues associated with the disorder can be controlled or lessened with the right therapy and care. With our expert therapists, boys can learn to identify their feelings and impulses and work on habits that will help control them. Call us today at Sundance Canyon Academy 866-678-2425.

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