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  What is Attachment Disorder?
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The following is a list of common symptoms of Attachment Disorder, taken from Arthur Becker-Weidman and Deborah Shell's (Eds.) "Creating Capacity for Attachment: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Trauma-Attachment Disorder", pp.15-17. (Wood 'N' Barnes Publishing & Distribution, 2005). This book is available from our Resources Section on the website.

  1. My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to other children.
  2. My child can't keep friends for an age-appropriate length of time.
  3. My child doesn't do as well in school as she could do, even with a little more effort.
  4. My child pushes me away or becomes stiff when I try to hug, unless he wants something from me, in which case he can be affectionate and engaging.
  5. My child argues for long periods of time, often about meaningless or silly things.
  6. My child has a large need to control everything.
  7. My child is hyper-vigilant.
  8. My child acts amazingly innocent, or pretends that things aren't really bad or a problem when caught doing something wrong.
  9. My child does dangerous things such as running away, jumping out of windows, or other potentially harmful actions. My child seems oblivious to the fact that she may be hurt.
  10. My child deliberately breaks or ruins his things or others things.
  11. My child doesn't seem to feel age-appropriate guilt when she does something wrong.
  12. My child is impulsive. My child seems unable or unwilling to stop doing something he wants to do.
  13. My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to animals.
  14. My child steals, or shows up with things that belong to others with unbelievable, unusual or suspicious reasons for how she got these things.
  15. My child likes to sneak things without permission, even though he could have had these things if he had asked.
  16. My child doesn't seem to learn from mistakes, consequences, or punishments. (She continues the behavior despite the consequences.)
  17. My child makes false reports of abuse or neglect. My child tries to get sympathy from others, or tries to get us in trouble by telling others that I abuse, don't feed, or don't provide the basic necessities.
  18. My child seems not to experience pain when hurt, refusing to let anyone provide comfort.
  19. My child does not usually ask for things. My child demands things.
  20. My child lies, often about obvious or ridiculous things, when it would have been easier to tell the truth.
  21. My child is quite bossy with other children and adults.
  22. My child hoards, sneaks food, or has other unusual eating habits (eats paper, raw sugar, nonfood items, package mixes, baker's chocolate, etc.).
  23. My child often does not make eye contact when adults want to make eye contact with him.
  24. My child has extended temper tantrums.
  25. My child chatters nonstop, asks repeated questions about things that make no sense, mutters, or is hard to understand when talking.
  26. My child is accident-prone (gets hurt a lot), or complains a lot about every little ache and pain (needs constant attention).
  27. My child acts cute or charming to get others to do what she wants.
  28. My child is overly friendly with strangers.
  29. My child has set fires or is preoccupied with fire.
  30. My child prefers violent cartoons, television shows, or horror movies (regardless of whether or not I allow him to do this).
  31. My child was abused/neglected during the first year of life, or had several changed of primary caretakers during the first years of life.
  32. My child was in an orphanage for more than the first year of life.
  33. My child was adopted after the age of 12 months.

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