Monday, July 25, 2011

RAD Behavior Checklist

Have you ever read a RAD check list?

A behavior checklist for RAD symptoms was taken from Liz Randolph's RADQ assessment.
A professional assessment is necessary to determine whether or not a child has an Attachment disorder. This checklist can help you identify areas of potential problem. It is not meant to substitute for a professional assessment and treatment plan. The best person to complete the checklist is the main female care giver of the child, answering the items according to the child’s behaviors seen over the past six months.
Circle the items if they are frequently or often true.
If you find that more than a few items (more than five or so) have been circled, your child may be experiencing difficulties that require professional assistance. If, in addition to several items being marked, any of the last three items is checked, your child may be experiencing attachment related problems.
RAD Behavior Checklist

I did this one for my non-adopted, not traumatized children I gave birth to.
1. My child acts cute or charms others to get others to do what my child wants.
Absolutely, and so does almost every child I have ever meet, with the exception of the kids I know on the autism spectrum.
2. My child often does not make eye contact when adults want to make eye contact with my child.
Yep, especially if they are in trouble or feeling ashamed. Same goes for most kids I have ever met or worked with.
3. My child is overly friendly with strangers.
Yep, my 5 year old loves chatting up anyone who will listen.
4. My child pushes me away or becomes stiff when I try to hug, unless my child wants something from me.
Oh, goodness yes! 13 year old!
5. My child argues for long periods of time, often about ridiculous things.
Ok, what child doesn’t argue with its parents about things that parents THINK are ridiculous? A parents ridiculous, is often a child’s very important. Really, you must have your milk in a princess cup and not the butterfly cup?
6. My child has a tremendous need to have control over everything, becoming very upset if things don't go my child’s way.
Hells yeah! ALL of my kids!
7. My child acts amazingly innocent, or pretends that things aren't that bad when caught doing something wrong.
Um, yeah, hello!
8. My child does very dangerous things, ignoring that my child may be hurt.
Yes, and so do I and every kid I coach!  (If it was easy they would call it football)
9. My child deliberately breaks or ruins things.
Again, just about every little boy I have ever met…I wonder what would happen if…
10. My child doesn't seem to feel age-appropriate guilt when my child does something wrong.
Not always. And unless you are someone with a lot of experience with lots of different children, do you really know what age appropriate guilt looks like anyway?

11. My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to other children.
Now, this can be a serious red flag. My kids are constantly picking with each other as goes on in most families. Many is the day that I feel more like a referee in the WWF than a mother…Again however, if you do not have a lot of experience with children it may be hard to tell what is run of the mill kids pushing boundaries, sibling rivalry, and figuring out how to fit into a group dynamic, self-advocating and real cause for concern which warrants seeking professional help. (In my own childhood I lived with the latter, which was never addressed. So I would never minimize child on child or sibling on sibling violence.)
12. My child seems unable to stop from doing things on impulse.
That describes a good chunk of the kids I work with, most little boys, every kid with ADHD and all kids I know at some point in time.
13. My child steals, or shows up with things that belong to others with unusual or suspicious reasons for how my child got these things.
Like borrowing clothes from friends which I loathe?
14. My child demands things, instead of asking for them.
Abso-freaking -lutely!
15. My child doesn't seem to learn from mistakes and misbehavior (no matter what the consequence, the child continues the behavior).
I have one word…Algebra!  There are other words, to be sure…but that is the one stuck in my craw at the moment.
16. My child tries to get sympathy from others by telling them that I abuse, don't feed, or don't provide the basic life necessities.
Yes, yes, yes! Do you know that we didn’t have ice-cream yesterday, that EVERYONE else’s parents let them go on the class trip to Washington D.C. and we couldn’t afford it, that I MAKE my oldest take care of her sisters, she has to get rides to after school functions when I am at work? I am down right abusive I tell ya!
I could do an entire blog post about the incredibly amusing conversation that my child told me she had with the school counselor! I’d have been mad if it wasn’t so funny…that poor lady!
17. My child "shakes off" pain when hurt, refusing to let anyone provide comfort.
Well…Um my oldest has broken her big toe, once in three places, and practiced on it for two weeks telling me that it ‘wasn’t THAT bad’ before I insisted she needed an X-ray…. I am not a big fan of “shake it off” ….my standard line is, “Are you hurt or scared? ‘Cause if you are just scared there is no need to be carrying on like that!”  because, in all honesty, when you are involved in something where injuries are just a part of what you do you have to know what is what quickly, there is no place for wigging-out over stubbed toes…..broken toes  well, some kids are just tough.
18. My child likes to sneak things without permission, even though my child could have had these things if my child had asked.
Well, she is 3… and she will just blame it on her sister or the cats anyway. 
19. My child lies, often about obvious or ridiculous things, or when it would have been easier to tell the truth.
Oh, man, my three year tells some wild stories, and will tell me she isn’t eating in the living room even as I am standing there watching her do it! And now, “the kittens did it”, is getting a lot of play around here.
20. My child is very bossy with other children and adults.
21. My child hoards or sneaks food, or has other unusual eating habits (eats paper, raw flour, package mixes, baker's chocolate, etc.)
You mean not everyone doesn’t eat paper as a kid? How many people didn’t have that kid in there kindergarten class that eat paste? By the way Pica is can be a medical condition and between 10 and 32% of children ages 1 - 6 have these behaviors.
22. My child can't keep friends for more than a week.
Ha! There are a couple I wish they couldn’t keep for more than a week…does that count?
23. My child throws temper tantrums that last for hours.
Like the energizer bunny! One used to do it, one is coming out the other side, and one has a long way to go…
24. My child chatters non-stop, asks repeated questions about things that make no sense, mutters, or is hard to understand when talking.
Really? Are you kidding?  I have three girls, sometimes I swear my ears are gonna bleed! Muttering?  Like saying she hates me and what ever else under her breath as she sulks off….um yeah. 
25. My child is accident-prone (gets hurt a lot), or complains a lot about every little ache and pain (needs constant band aids).
Yes, yes and yes! I have a gymnast, a daredevil and kid with Apraxia, strangely, around here a paper-cut causes more whining than broken bones.   I should buy stock in, ear-plugs, Johnson and Johnson, ice-packs and Arnica!
26. My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to animals.
Now, this CAN be another real problem…but, since we just brought home two kittens that my children are ‘torturing’ (in my opinion) with excessive hugs, kisses, chasing and bombarding them with cat toys and being generally menacing it is something that may definitely be in the eye of the beholder. A parent’s idea of torture may be a child’s idea of loving-up! Yikes! They are keeping me on my toes!
27. My child doesn't do as well in school as my child could with even a little more effort.
Oh. My. Goodness!
28. My child has set fires, or is preoccupied with fire.
Now, that might upset me.
29. My child prefers to watch violent cartoons and/or TV shows or horror movie (regardless of whether or not you allow your child to do this).
Seriously, my kids (even my 13 year old) aren’t allowed and have never been allowed to watch much TV, movies or even play on the computer in the first place. (We – I mean, they are having a media-free summer. Well, except for the big girl going to see Harry Potter on opening night for her birthday) Because so much media is so violent, and I believe that the more kids are exposed to it the more they crave it. You can’t even walk through the grocery store around here without seeing some little boy sitting in the cart killing stuff on his DS, while mommy picks out her organic fruit. But that is another rant completely.
30. My child was abused/neglected during the first year of life, or had several changes of primary caretaker during the first several years of life.
Not even close!
31. My child was in an orphanage for more than the first year of life.
32. My child was adopted after the age of eighteen months.
And wouldn’t you know it, it appears since I have answered yes to more than 5 of the questions on this particular RAD check list, my very own children just may have RAD. And only a professional assessment can determine if the children I gave birth to, have been with from their first moments, have breastfed until they were 2, carried in slings, co-slept with have an attachment disorder. However, with the exception of setting fires, cruelty to animals and cruelty to other children, *most* kids display many of these behaviors to some degree at some point in their childhoods, for some period of time.
I am not in a position to say that RAD doesn’t exist. And I do know what it is like to have a child who I knew had issues, and to have people reassure me I am wrong. What I will say is that I am concerned that foster and adoptive parents look at check lists like this and panic. I have concerns that children with run of the mill attachment issues and PTSD or other more likely illnesses are being over diagnosed with RAD, simply because they are adopted or foster kids and exposed to unnecessary and possibly counterproductive and coercive therapies in the name of RAD.  Some *most* kids are selfish, egocentric, manipulative, demanding, ungrateful, and entitled to some *a large* extent. Because a kid has been “rescued” into foster care or “redeemed” by adoption, doesn’t mean they aren’t a kid by nature…for the good and the bad.

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