Reactive Attachment Disorder, RAD, DSED

Reactive attachment disorder RAD and disinhibited social engagement disorder DSED can affect infants, children and youth of all ages. Later in life, the developmental disorders underlying the attachment disorder may give rise to additional mental health challenges including depression, self-harming, and borderline personality disorder. But the future is not set in stone; with intervention, time and love all children can begin to heal.

Disorders of Attachment Development can interfere with the ability of an infant, child, or teenager to develop loving, trusting, and meaningful relationships with others. Examples of Attachment Disorder include:

  • RAD or Reactive Attachment Disorder and
  • DSED or Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

Infant & Child DepressionAttachment is the broad human capacity that allows a human to have empathy and compassion for others and to function effectively in relationships, family, school, groups, work, and the community. Disorders of Attachment can result from a variety of challenges such as:

  • trauma
  • abuse or
  • neglect

or from the separation of an infant or child from the primary caregiver due to such issues as:

  • mental health problems
  • hospitalization
  • illness
  • injury
  • depression
  • deployment
  • divorce or separation
  • incarceration
  • work 

Treatment of infants, children, and teens with Disorders of Attachment requires a thorough and comprehensive approach that incorporates the support and participation of parents or caregivers. In the case of foster or adoptive parents, the goal of treatment may be to establish a healthy attachment between the youth and the new parent or caregiver.

Behavior ChallengesAttachment Theory was first proposed by John Bowlby in the 1960s. Mary Ainsworth pursued investigation of strategies for identification and classification of Disorders of Attachment. Their work has been critical to the current understanding of Attachment Disorder, including identification and treatment strategies.

Treatment of Attachment Disorder requires a thorough approach by a committed team that includes parents or caregivers along with a mental health professional. The Orchard Human Services incorporates a practical assessment and intervention of critical social, emotional, and attachment skills and abilities that helps youth along the path toward healthy attachment formation.

Various techniques including Therapeutic Parenting strategies are used to help infants, children, and teens who have Attachment Disorder. By working with the entire family, we help ensure that each child has the environment, influences, and exposures that are necessary to formation of healthy attachment.

Orchard Human Services - Shings a Light

A common question that parents ask is “How is Attachment Parenting related to Attachment Disorder or RAD?” Our answer to this question is that:

Attachment Parenting is a recent parenting rad that focuses on promoting healthy attachment development of children, but that many Attachment Parenting techniques that are popular in the media are not scientifically supported. We will help parents recognize what parenting and child rearing techniques are documented by research to help promote healthy attachment development … and avoid those fad strategies that are not scientifically founded. 

The Orchard Human Services, Inc. incorporates evidence based practices in counseling, education, and developmental interventions to help infants, children, and youth who are experiencing challenges in Attachment Development. We will help parents and caregivers in accessing broad services across the school and community settings in order to improve your child’s chance at healing and recovery.

Another common question is “What are the types of therapy and intervention that you use to help children and families with Attachment Disorder?”

Here is our answer to this great question: We use a variety of effective and evidence-based strategies based on the specific needs of the child and family including:

  • Play Therapy
  • Parent-Child Guided Play & Interaction (Counselor Led/Supported)
  • Parent Training, Education & Support
  • Client-Centered Counseling
  • Trauma-Informed Care
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy CBT
  • Behavior Management Planning & Support
  • IEP Support or Section 504 Planning as appropriate
  • Other miscellaneous strategies include NLP, kinesiology, Brain Gym, and mindfulness
  • Teacher & School Liaison Support or Advocacy

If you live in the Metropolitan Atlanta area of Georgia (including Austell, Dallas, Douglasville, Hiram, Mableton, Marietta, Smyrna, Villa Rica) you may be able to schedule some direct services.

Those living outside the Atlanta area may access psychoeducational, training, and coaching services by phone and internet. Clients who visit the Atlanta area for the initial visit may also be able to receive ongoing phone or internet counseling services on a case-by-case basis.

Please contact us at (770) 686 0894 to learn more about services or to schedule an initial visit. We are dedicated to promoting your child’s healthy Attachment Development.


Dr. Darleen Claire Wodzenski is an author, national presenter, and child developmental interventionist. Serving the metro Atlanta area, she sees clients in Atlanta, Alpharetta, Marietta, College Park, Cumberland, Marietta, and Hiram. Nationally, she provides online and telephone consultative collaboration, developmental intervention, and parent/therapist coaching support. Her specializations include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Disorders of Attachment Development, and promoting behavior and learning for children with Emotional and Behavioral Disorder EBD.

Darleen Claire Wodzenski, MS ESE, MA CMHC, PhD Psychology
is the founder of Orchard Human Services, Inc. and has created extensive programming including interventions, curriculum, and training materials for families of children impacted by disordered attachment.

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