It has been awhile since I posted about our journey with Lia. These last couple of months have been trying to say the least and yet just like the rest of you who struggle every day with so many of life's horrible twists and turns, we keep moving on.
As you may know, we have been trying to find a true diagnosis for our daughter, Lia. We know she is gifted and has SPD (http://spdfoundation.net/about-sensory-processing-disorder.html). We have been trying to find therapists and medical professionals to help us help her for over 4 years now. It has been trying, exhausting and just plain overwhelming. The reason we have been pressing is because of her increasingly very very difficult behavior at home. She is defiant, disobedient, she lies about everything, EVERYTHING, and she is mean. She is cruel to her 3 year old sister and bullies her older sister, now her older sister has issues about her body and thinks she is fat. We have had to keep Lia away from her siblings at times for their own protection.
It's debilitating as a family.
Most days I just feel worn down and depressed.
For so long I knew her behavior wasn't normal. We tried everything, we read every book. There was no way being gifted could cause this and SPD didn't totally explain it either. But what else could it be? Our doctor thought is was Autism, but this last year we realized that isn't it. Another doctor thought maybe bi-polar, but that is a very tricky one to diagnose. I have felt like we've been going around in circles with doctors and therapists who all meant well, but also just didn't know where to place her. In the end, we felt lost and didn't know what to do. Flavio's uncle awhile back had told us he thought is was something called RAD or Reactive Attachment Disorder, but I waved that off because we had adopted her as a baby. She didn't have an attachment disorder, I had done skin to skin with her...we held her and loved her, we sang to her and took care of her since she was two weeks, we comforted her when she cried we kissed her and hugged her, how could she not have attached? It didn't make sense.
But we were wrong to move on.
Because, a month ago, after talking with another mother who has a child with RAD, when she described her child I knew this was it!
Lia indeed has RAD and she was properly diagnosed two weeks ago.
The crazy part is: she developed RAD in utero. The stress, drugs and alcohol hurt her so much, she never attached to us properly. And those two weeks in foster care probably didn't help. Looking back I can see this to be true, but I thought it was all me. I thought I was doing something wrong, I thought I wasn't doing enough. But apparently it didn't matter who ended up taking this precious child, she didn't have the capability to attach to anyone even her own birthmother.
After many prayers and fasting we were able to find a therapist here in AF who works with kids who have RAD and they also have a school!!! What?! It's been a miracle.
If you want to know more about what RAD is, here is website that lists the symptoms and causes of this horrible disorder: (http://www.attachment.org/reactive-attachment-disorder/). These poor children have no chance without the right kind of help. Their ability to love is distorted and causes so many relationship issues, including those with their own parents and siblings.
Again, I write these posts in hopes of maybe helping someone else out there who is suffering a battle they don't have a name for. Having a child who feels no guilt for the bad choices they make and has no problem with their defiance and lies is exhausting and overwhelming day in and day out. If you feel your child may have RAD, have him/her tested. The earlier you get help the better chance you have to help your child and yourself.
Lots of love,
From a RAD mother, Niki