Educating the world about Reactive Attachment Disorder through experience, hope, humor and love.
(Warning: nothing here should be taken as medical advice)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Triggers and Chairs...

Lately it seems we have come a long way towards healing.  Things are much better than they used to be for sure.  But every once in a while I catch a glimpse of things that make me realize there is still a long way to go.  The other night was one of those times.  It wasn't a big thing, but it really set off alarms in my oldest daughter.  On the positive side, she was able to express her discomfort and the fact that it was really hard for her to deal with it.  That's huge.  It means we really are making progress.  But on the other hand, she actually froze up when she found out about it.  Literally.  Her body froze and she got that frightened/overwhelmed look in her eyes that we are all so familiar with.  It was just for a moment, but it was there. 

So what was this thing that caused such an intense reaction?  We changed where we sit at the dinner table.

Research shows that RAD is very much like PTSD.  Like sufferers of PTSD, these children are constantly living in a state of hyper arousal.  Any little push can (and does!) send them over the edge. Picture a toy race car track where the cars are speeding around the track as fast as they can.  Now put a pebble on the track and watch the car derail.  That's pretty much what seems to be happening in these kids' heads when you change things up on them.  The trick is to put up a wall to prevent the crash before you toss that pebble on there.

Easier said than done though - I suck at carpentry :) ... but this time my daughter was able to catch herself and help me flip that car back onto the track.  It still threw her for a loop, and I don't think we'll be changing seats around again any time soon, but we're getting there... slowly, but we're getting there.

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