It's not infrequent that I wish the therapist that diagnosed my RAD had really clued me in to what it truly meant. I didn't think it was that big of a deal - figured it would pass with enough love. Had I known then what I know now, I would have started earlier on dealing with it. But even before she was diagnosed I knew something was wrong. When I took custody of her at about 2 years old, one of the oddest things she did was hoard food. I knew from visiting her while she was still with her bio-mom that she wasn't exactly living a normal lifestyle. I frequently caught her digging in the garbage can for food, and once watched "mom" toss her food plate on the floor for her - like she was feeding a dog. So when I found her sticking food in her pockets to save for later I just thought this was normal and would pass. After all, with time she would come to learn that as long as she was with me she WOULD always have enough food to eat, and not need to hoard or stash food anywhere. About a year later she was diagnosed with insulin dependent diabetes which only led to more issues with food. So I chalked things up to that as well.
Here we are 12 years later and food is still an issue. She will sneak out in the middle of the night to eat and not get a shot for it (which causes her to start her day with super high blood sugars), and we have had to abandon most of our kitchen cupboards and keep as many of the carbohydrate-laden foods as possible in our bedroom closet. And let's not get into the candy she somehow "finds" (another wonderful RAD trait - where DO they find all these things? Oh wait, we know the answer to that!) and eats. Thankfully, the staff at her Day Treatment Center is on top of things and they keep a close eye on her, confiscating any candy they find and then calling me to let me know.
With most kids, if you say "if you do this, you can have a donut (or ice cream, or whatever)", they learn that they CAN have treats if they simply do what is asked of them. We have tried that with our RAD over and over again but it's as though we're telling her for the first time, every time. And she doesn't care. It's a sense of entitlement I guess? I tell her, "keep your blood sugar under control today so we can have desert tonight". But there's too much 'immediate gratification' involved - she'll go ahead and eat whatever she wants all day long, and then complain how unfair it is when the rest of us are eating desert and she can't because her blood sugar is 5 times higher than it should be. Ahhh, the joys of RAD!!