9 thoughts on “Is It Possible for an Autistic Child to Have Reactive Attachment Disorder?

  • September 15, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    A child may have reactive attachment disorder but that is not all that is the child, so the term, “RAD child,” is insensitive, in my opinion.
    In addition, calling children who have experienced chronic early maltreatment within a care-giving relationship “manipulative,” is inaccurate, insensitive, and demeaning. In fact, many such children are oblivious to subtle social cues. What some uninformed people deem manipulative is most often a manifestation of overwhelming shame.

    • September 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      Dr. Becker-Weidman,

      I agree with you. Even as I was writing the blog, I thought, “This should say ‘child with RAD,’ as opposed to ‘RAD child,’ but I thought people would get sick of reading the long form of it. That was a mistake because it gave the impression that it’s okay to identify people by their disorders/conditions/illnesses. I do not believe that’s ever okay. Thank you for having the courage to call me out on that.

      Regarding manipulation, every child I’ve ever worked with who has Reactive Attachment Disorder has been significantly more manipulative than children who do not have the disorder. I’ve had a teenage child with RAD living with me for six months, I’ve worked as the behavioral interventionist for a mid-elementary child who had RAD, and there’s a toddler who has RAD in my immediate family. I’ve worked with more of these kiddos outside of an immediate situation, but those are the ones I’ve worked with most closely. They were all heavy manipulators.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that all kids who have RAD use manipulation as their primary mode of function, but it’s what I’ve experienced. It’s definitely a mannerism that’s not spoken about enough, although I can (and should) acknowledge that it isn’t a hard and fast characteristic of all kids with RAD. Again, thank you for expressing concern and helping to spread truth.

      I appreciate your input so much.



  • September 21, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I’m not sure of your background, but agree with Dr. Art that calling children by either diagnosis (RAD kid/Autistic child) is labeling and really not “people first” language. Since I am parenting a child who has been given both diagnoses (and probably more accurately reflects the Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis that’s been proposed), I have come to realize and recognize that both disorders can co-exist. I wouldn’t characterize manipulation as being the main identifier of a child who receives a RAD or DSED diagnosis. For my daughter, what shows up as an attachment-type “symptom” is her inability to empathize with others and stay focused primarily on how everything that happens impacts her – now as a young adult it’s been diagnosed by some as an “emerging personality disorder”. She is currently in a training program with mostly young adults with high functioning autism. The coaches there have noted that she has traits of autism…but there’s something more. The something more is the attachment challenges (whether or not you’d call it RAD). My daughter isn’t that manipulative, but she definitely has a skewed world view and is quick to blame others if she starts to feel shame or fear. To me, that is more at the base of the altered way children with RAD think, based on the survival skills they developed during their early life of trauma. I also think you should research whether children with autism really have “subdued emotions”. My anecdotal experience is that this is not usually the case – people who have autism do feel as deeply as the rest of us – but are often not able to express that in ways that we understand. On that point, they share a trait with children who have RAD. Children with either diagnosis need very intensive therapeutic parenting and therapy supports. Children with both conditions even moreso.

    • September 21, 2018 at 1:35 pm


      Thank you so much for your reply. I agree with much of what you’ve said, and I appreciate your courage in reaching out to me.

      Here’s how I responded to Dr. Art:

      Dr. Becker-Weidman,

      I agree with you. Even as I was writing the blog, I thought, “This should say ‘child with RAD,’ as opposed to ‘RAD child,’ but I thought people would get sick of reading the long form of it. That was a mistake because it gave the impression that it’s okay to identify people by their disorders/conditions/illnesses. I do not believe that’s ever okay. Thank you for having the courage to call me out on that.

      Regarding manipulation, every child I’ve ever worked with who has Reactive Attachment Disorder has been significantly more manipulative than children who do not have the disorder. I’ve had a teenage child with RAD living with me for six months, I’ve worked as the behavioral interventionist for a mid-elementary child who had RAD, and there’s a toddler who has RAD in my immediate family. I’ve worked with more of these kiddos outside of an immediate situation, but those are the ones I’ve worked with most closely. They were all heavy manipulators.

      That doesn’t necessarily mean that all kids who have RAD use manipulation as their primary mode of function, but it’s what I’ve experienced. It’s definitely a mannerism that’s not spoken about enough, although I can (and should) acknowledge that it isn’t a hard and fast characteristic of all kids with RAD. Again, thank you for expressing concern and helping to spread truth.

      I appreciate your input so much.




      To you, Julie, I would say the same thing. Thank you, and I do apologize for being less sensitive to children and families than I should have been. Advocating for people who are going through these behavioral concerns is my life’s passion, and I never want to skew that narrative in a negative way.

      Although I have a lot of life experience with Reactive Attachment Disorder, my experience with Autism is less so. I work AROUND kids who are on the spectrum, and my nephew has Autism, but I don’t live it like you do. I appreciate your knowledge about having a child who has both diagnoses. I wish I could work alongside your kiddo for a little while so that I could expand my knowledge! Having a child who has both Autism and RAD is a rare diagnosis.

      Thank you for reaching out in bravery,


  • January 15, 2019 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you so much for your comments that shed light on this controversial subject. I am raising a child who displays qualities of both RAD and high functioning autism. I think your description of how these conditions can co exist clarifies the subject greatly!

  • February 11, 2019 at 9:08 pm

    I am also parenting a child with both an ASD and RAD diagnosis – in addition to IDD and depression. I suppose it’s possible that she was born with Autism, then 5 years in an orphanage caused the RAD. I’m not as concerned about the labels as I am with finding appropriate resources and treatment for her. Parents like us are desperate for professionals who understand the complex needs of our children.

  • February 18, 2019 at 2:31 am

    I definitely think a child could have both diagnosis of Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. My daughter has both diagnosis along with other diagnosis.

    It’s no different than saying somebody that heaven for bid has diabetes couldn’t also fracture a bone. They are both medical conditions and even though they are completely different from one another they still both happen within the body.

    Autism Spectrum Disorders can be caused from many different factors. Some people believe autism is caused from a genetic mutation and that kids who are on the Autism Spectrum are born with this.

    Other people believe Autism is caused by certain vaccines that trigger a switch within a child’s body causing a regression in what they have already learned at a young age causing Autism like symptoms in their child.

    Other people believe Autism can be caused by an infection. If the birth mother had an infection that wasn’t properly treated it could effect the baby’s development in utero.

    Some people believe Autism can be caused by birth mothers using drugs and drinking alcohol while pregnant.

    Other people believe there are certain Autism Spectrum Disorders that fall under the Autism umbrella that can purely be from neglect and abuse and the environment of the child. This would be from environmental Autism.

    Whatever people believe causes Autism to develop and the reasoning behind Autism Spectrum Disorders it’s still not 100% for certain on any of these. I think there are a number of factors that can play a role in the development of Autism/ASD.

    There was one girl who had been given a diagnosis of environmental Autism after her mother left her alone in a bedroom. Ignoring her, neglecting her needs for physical, emotional, and medical care. She had been left this way for so long she never learned how to talk because she was abandoned and left alone. She didn’t go to school. Nobody was there for her. She might not have been “born” with Autism due to a genetic mutation. Who knows if this same girl if she was in a different environment maybe she would not have turned out this way in the end if she received much better care. If she hadn’t been so severely neglected and abused maybe she wouldn’t have been given a diagnosis of environmental Autism.

    Maybe this specific girls Autism was caused solely on her environment that she was forced to live in.

    I know some other families and they have kids with all kinds of different diagnosis.

    One of my good friends she just adopted 2 little girls who are birth sisters. They have the same biological mom and different biological dads. The younger sister who is now around 4 had a stroke when she was a baby because their birth mom was using drugs and drinking alcohol while pregnant. The younger 4 year old sister also has an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and has a diagnosis of Selective Mutism.
    The older sister who is around 5 has a diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder. They are both sisters. Have grown up together in the same environment. They have the same birth mom and yet they still have different diagnosis and things they struggle with.

    Humans and the brain is a very complex thing. Somebody can have more than 1 condition and diagnosis going on with them.

    I believe my daughters Autism was a combination of a genetic mutation. I think this because my daughter also has EDS which is a connective tissue syndrome that’s caused by a genetic mutation. There have been quite a few people we have meet where either they have both EDS and are on the Autism Spectrum. Or their child has EDS and Autism. That’s not to say that every person who is on the Autism Spectrum also has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and vice versa. But it really makes me wonder why there are quite a few people that do have both conditions. It makes me wonder if what ever genetic mutation that gets effected to cause EDS to form I near the same gene that could also effect Autism to develope causing some people to have both Autism and EDS it makes you wonder.

    Even if my daughter had come from a good environment when she was a baby. I think she would still definitely be on the Autism Spectrum and she still would have EDS.

    My daughter being neglected and abused while an infant and toddler only made her condition worse now causing her to develope Reactive Attachment Disorder as well solely just from the severe maltreatment, abuse and neglect.

    Children with Autism can become abused, neglected, and maltreated just the same as any “neurotypical” child can be.

    In fact children with any form of disability is actually at a higher risk for abuse and neglect than non disabled children.

    If a child is born somewhere on the Autism Spectrum and then suffered severe abuse and neglect that same child still very well can also develop an attachment disorder like Reactive Attachment.

    With my daughter I see a lot of Autism traits in her. I also see quite a few of Reactive Attachment symptoms in her as well. With my daughter though she does have a lot more of the ASD symptoms than she does with Reactive Attachment. But she still technically has both diagnosis.

    Autism and Reactive Attachment Disorder can also share a lot of similarities. Like social impairments, learning disabilities and cognitive impairments, sensory processing disorders, and behavior issues in both disorders.

    But there are some things that also seperate them from one another that look completely different from each other.

    Here are just some examples I thought I would share that my daughter experiences from her Autism.

    I had tried to get her involved in social groups when she was in elementary school because I could see that she was struggling to make friends. She had a lot of social skills issues and I could tell something just wasn’t right. I had her in a Brownies girls group when she was in first grade. When the girls would get up in front of their parents to sing the songs and do there routines my daughter would always be on the end in the lineup and she would be looking off to the side almost like in her own world. It’s like she was physically there but not mentally. You could tell by looking at my daughter she had such a hard time trying to be involved. She didn’t know how to be in sync with the other girls and she would always be behind compared to all the other girls who were in the Brownies group. She looked so lost and confused. She didn’t know what she was supposed to be doing and was always falling behind. She would be hand flapping around making nosies. She wasn’t able to pick up social cues. She wasn’t able to understand how to read body language. She doesn’t know how to be in sync and she was always off in her own world not really there in the moment.

    I know some kids with Reactive Attachment can be described as being of in there own world but this was way more than just typical RAD things.

    My daughter hand flaps, she flicks her fingers in a repetitive motion on and on and on.

    She has different body movements that are repetitive.

    She makes noises

    When she is excited she isn’t able to just say “mommy I’m excited” instead she will make a noise or sound effect to show that she is feeling excited.

    Feelings and emotions have always been hard for her to process and understand.
    When she is feeling upset she isn’t able to say that she is upset. She isn’t able to communicate what she is thinking and feeling. She has a hard time understanding what she is feeling. This leads to a lot of meltdowns from her feeling frustrated and confused. A lot of times she has no idea what she’s feeling and she has a very hard time trying to perceive what others are thinking and feeling.

    I know some kids with Reactive Attachment have been said to be great at being able to read other people’s feelings and being able to tell what other people might think or feel. They can be good at knowing what to say and what not to say. Knowing what to do and what not to do and when to do something and when not to do something if they have RAD.

    My daughter isn’t able to do this. She has a very hard time with these things. She doesn’t know what to say and when she’s supposed to say something in a conversation she never knows when it’s her turn to speak. She gets really confused and struggles at the whole back and forth context in a conversation. She has always had speech delays when she was younger and not only not knowing how to pronounce words properly but she always struggled with not knowing the context of laungage. Someone can speak and not understand the laungage and context behind what they are saying. My daughter doesn’t know if someone if upset at her. She isn’t able to tell if somebody is getting bored because she is going on about a certain topic she is obsessed with. She doesn’t know how to have a back and forth conversation. You ask her a question and she will answer it and then it goes silent. She doesn’t understand the reciprocation of needing to ask questions back to the other person. She doesn’t know how to pick up a conversation on her own without someone else initiating it first and having to prompt her on what to say and how to say it.

    She has restricted interests and obsessions.

    She collects stickers obsessively.

    She collects other things and will line them up for hours on end.

    When she goes trick or treating she loves to dress up in a custom and collect all the different candy’s. When we get home though she doesn’t ever eat the candy. She just likes collecting the pieces. She will take all the candy out and organize the different candy’s and line them up. She will line up all the Kit Kats together then Hershey bars and so on.

    She is very very organized. With her everything has to be a certain way and look a certain way. She is very visual and meticulous.

    She lines her things up in her room in a certain order. She will have a meltdown if something gets out of order or moved.

    She is very good with visual things. She does much better with visual aids. Even though she can speak she does do a lot better with picture cards and visual reminders. She has a hard time remembering things like to brush her teeth. Before she would go days at a time not remembering to brush her teeth. Now that she has a visual picture card hanging in her bathroom it gives her visual reminders and she does it right away every day. She has now brushed her teeth every morning and night consistently and is doing much much better. It’s like her brain understands pictures and looking at things better than verbal instructions. She gets confused at multiple verbal steps but the visual schedules have helped make a huge difference for her to understand.

    She is very much based on routine and structure. She doesn’t like easy going do whatever whenever thinking. She is very much a follow the rules and being on a schedule. She has her own routines she does everyday. She thrives off of sameness and routine.

    She has a hard time going to new.places, trying new foods, being around new people, having a different routine or schedule like while on vacation.

    She is very by the book and if someone doesn’t follow the rules like when playing a board game she does get meltdowns.

    She is very honest sometimes to honest.
    She hardly ever lies about things
    She doesn’t steal
    She doesn’t cheat
    She doesn’t start drama
    She doesn’t smoke or drink alcohol
    She doesn’t break the law

    She doesn’t like drama and she doesn’t know how to handle conflicts.

    She has a very hard time pretending and using an imagination. She never played with baby dolls when she was younger.

    She is very creative and crafty. She is very good with matching colors, shapes and patterns.

    She has been tested and has what is known as a photographic memory. She can look at a picture for so many seconds and memorize every detail about the picture and then after taking the same picture away and showing her another picture she knows exactly what is missing in the second picture from memory recall based off of visual pictures.

    She has incredible attention to details. But she has a harder time seeing the bigger picture with things.

    She is very all or nothing thinking pattern. She doesn’t understand gray areas in the middle.

    She is very very literal. She takes things very seriously. If you tell her okay where going to go someplace at a specific time and you say where leaving at 4 o clock. It better be 4 o clock or she will meltdown and not know how to processes this.

    She is very very very rigid. She is not flexible at all.

    She likes to be early places.

    She has a lot of sensory issues and has a hard time with over stimulating environments. With her sensory processing disorder she is really sensitive to loud high pitch noises, bright lights, smells, crowded environments and certain textures. She also has a lot of food texture sensitivities. Everything has to have sauce and be moist or it pokes her and feels like it’s getting caught in her throat. She has choked on certain food textures before.

    She repeats things constantly. She will watch movies and memorize the movie lines. She loves animated Disney movies. She will repeat lines to all the Disney movies over and over.

    She loves repetitive things. She watches the same movies over and over and listens to the same music over again. She does repetitive body movements and sounds. Flapping, flicking, rocking, making repetitive sounds, jumping, ECT.

    Usually in Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD kiddos don’t display repetitive movements and make repetitive sounds.

    Usually RAD kiddos also have a hard time following the rules but with my daughter she is very much by the rules kinda gal.

    Also some RAD kiddos have a hard time with time management or accomplishing things and getting things done on time independently like doing homework and chores. But some people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can be very good with time management, being self structured and they can handle these tasks better.

    My daughter doesn’t steal, lie, cheat, or manipulate people. Like some kiddos with RAD do. But she does struggle with other RAD symptoms also that can differentiate between both Autism and RAD.

    This is a list of some of the symptoms of Reactive Attachment in older kids. I went through and labeled which ones my daughter personally struggles with and which ones don’t effect her. Some of these symptoms of RAD can also be present in ASD as well.

    The ones with a * marked infront are the ones that do effect my daughter. The ones without a * in front are ones that don’t effect her.

    * 1. Severe anxiety (can be seen in both)

    * 2. Trouble sleeping (can be seen in both)

    * 3. Lack of boundaries (can be seen in both)

    * 4. Hypervigilant (can be seen in RAD)

    * 5. Acts much younger than chronological age (can be seen in RAD)

    6. Underdeveloped conscience (can be seen in RAD)

    * 7. Inappropriate responses like laughing when someone else is sad (can be seen in both)

    * 8. Disobedient (can be seen in RAD)
    (she can be at times not always) most of the time she actually is very very compliant and does what she’s told the first time. Usually she is only disobedient when she is in the middle of a meltdown and isn’t able to think clearly in the moment. I don’t think she truelly tries to be disobedient on purpose and jt doesn’t happen often.

    * 9. Argumentative (can be seen in RAD)
    (she can be at times not always) again usually when in the middle of a meltdown and struggeling to process information and not being able to think clearly in the moment. She is not very argumentative and only happens every now and then.

    * 10. Controlling (seen in RAD)
    she is very very controlling. She doesn’t know how to let up on the control. This is one of her biggest and main issues she does struggle with her RAD.

    11. Bullying (can be seen in RAD)

    12. Fake not genuine (can be seen in RAD)

    * 13. Difficulty showing affection (seen in both) she struggles with this one a lot on a daily basis another one of her main RAD issues.
    Usually kids with both Autism and RAD have a hard time showing and receiving affection. Some RAD kiddos have been known to be harmful to animals. Where as kids on the Autism Spectrum have been know to be able to be very affectionate with animals and they have a harder time showing affection to humans.
    My daughter can show great natural affection to animals but doesn’t with people. She struggles with both not being able to show affection with others as well as not knowing how to receive it. But she is very nice towards animals and loves them. She is very good at taking care of pets and being gentle and loving to them.

    * 14. Aversion to touch (seen in RAD)

    15. Defiant (seen in RAD)

    * 16. Tantrums or rages (seen in both)
    My daughter has both meltdowns and rages. Her meltdowns are more from her Autism. From her getting overwhelmed, feeling overloaded, when there’s to much sensory input, when where someplace crowded and noisy, when where someplace new she has a very hard time adjusting. She has a hard time with new things, new places and being around new people. She can get sensory overload meltdowns from her Autism. I am able to tell the difference between her Autism overload meltdowns. Usually during an Autism meltdown she will cover her ears, put her noise cancelling headphones on, she will tap on her noise cancelling headphones to try to block out extra stimulating noises she isn’t able to handle and process, she will self harm when she is having an Autism meltdown, she can hit and bang her head, bite her arms, scratch up her arms, she picks and pinches herself, she will rock back and forth trying to self soothe, she makes repetitive sounds and does repetitive body movements.ehen she is having an Autism meltdown she isn’t having these behaviors intentionally to be difficult.

    Then there are her full blown flat out RAD rages she also has.
    She will scream, swear, spit, throw things, becomes agressive and out of control. She writes on the walls, breaks things, has put dents and holes in the walls, she will hang toys or stuffed animals, screaming for hours at a time almost as if something else has taken over her. These are more trigger related rather then from sensory overload.

    * 17. Sensory issues (seen in both)
    Lots and lots of overload with sensory input. Her mind and body are not able to process all the extra stimulation on a day to day basis.

    * 18. Withdrawal (seen in RAD)

    * 19. Lack of eye contact (seen in both)
    She really struggles with this also

    20. Incessant chatter (seen in RAD)

    * 21. Not asking for help when sick, hurt or needing assistance (seen in RAD)
    She struggles with this one a lot also with her RAD. If she is hurt she won’t tell anybody she will try to handle it herself. She does have seizures and she has tried to fight off doctors and nurses who where trying to help her to start an
    I.V on her to get medication in her fast to help stop the seizures.
    She couldn’t even understand the importance of the doctors and nurses that where trying to help her. She automatically saw it as being a threat and thought in her mind they where hurting her instead of trying to help her feel better. She couldn’t comprehend this in her mind.
    She doesn’t know how to ask for things even if she is hungry she can’t tell people when she is hungry. She will go all day without eating. If one of her caregivers does not ask her if she is hungry and wants to eat she will go all day without eating.

    22. Socially indiscriminate (can be seen in RAD)

    23. Manipulate (can be seen in RAD)

    24. Frequent lying (can be seen in RAD)

    25. Blames others for their mistakes (can be seen in RAD)

    Anyone of these things could be seen in any condition. And like Autism being a wide spectrum so can Reactive Attachment Disorder. RAD is also a big spectrum and there are different degrees on how severe a child is struggling. You could have 3 kids in a room who all have RAD and they could all be different from one another or have similar things but also be very very different from each other. One child with RAD might be prone to steal, lie frequently, and cheat and be very dishonest. While another RAD child might struggle more with control issues and severe outbursts of rage but be a very honest and trustworthy person. Everybody is different and handles there environment differently. One child with RAD could be not nice to animals and mistreat them. While another child with RAD could be very affectionate and loving to them and treat them very well.

    People should not go around assuming it’s a one size fits all kind of diagnosis. And just because a child has Autism doesn’t mean they can’t have RAD. Just like a child with Reactive Attachment could have other diagnosis like PTSD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, ASD, FASD and any other disability. Kids can have all kinds of special needs ranging from developmental, learning, social, emotional, physciatric, or medical.

    I also believe that with the right supports in place and the right combination of therapy’s kids with RAD and Autism can improve so much. I see the potential my daughter has along with all other children who struggle with these diagnosis. There is hope and it can improve and get better. It takes a lot of time, attention, lots and lots of patience, hard work and not giving up, lots and lots of positive feedback and praise, focusing on all the good they have in them even when they can’t see it or can’t believe it in themselves. Having a good support system and having people to help you out makes a huge difference.

    Kids with RAD have a true fear built inside of them that prevents them from not being able to form attachments with others. They are scared very very scared and most of them don’t even realize how traumatized and scared they are. They are not able to see how much they have been hurt and been through. They don’t understand what has happened to them as an infant. Even people who don’t have RAD most likely will not be able to remember any memory’s about when they where a small infant. Just imagine now being a small infant and having something scary, bad and very hurtful happen to you as a baby and you consciously can’t even remember but deep down inside your body still remembers and your unconscious mind will always remember and feel the pain and hurt that has been done by somebody else to them. The person they thought would be the safest to be there for them and then they ended up not being there for them and neglecting their needs.
    This would scare the heck out of anybody and definitely explains a lot of what’s truely beneath all the hidden rages and behaviors these kids go through. They live a nightmare every single day and they never asked to be severely abused, neglected, abandoned, sexually abused as an infant, these children never asked to be born to birth mom’s who have serious drug addictions, who would constantly drink alcohol while pregnant. These children are just very very scared and these behaviors they have picked up on where not by “choice” they are not “choosing” to behave in these manners. To them it truely is a survival mode and they feel they really need to have these behaviors in order to protect themselves to survive.
    These children could have passed away as babys. And some babys do really pass away because of such severe emotional neglect and maltreatment. Babys who don’t constantly get their needs met can pass away. These kids are true survivor’s and they are so incredibly strong. They have been through so much nobody should have to go through. They are not born with these behaviors and every behavior has a meaning behind it.

    No child really wants to have all of these issues they struggle with and they didn’t ask to have these terrible things happen to them. We need to stop labeling these kids who have severe attachment difficulties as so called “psychopaths” when really they are not. By labelling them as “psychopaths” this isn’t going to get these kids the help they need. There brains need to relearn basically everything from the start again from when the first trauma happened to them.

    If the child had severe trauma at say 11 months old these kids need to be regressed back to this developmental age no matter what there chronological age is. This really can help heal the hurts even the ones burried deep deep down inside their unconscious mind.

  • February 25, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    I think kids can have both.

    Though I think it’s kids with Aspergers/Low Assistant Needs who would have the comorbidity more than kids who fall elsewhere on the spectrum.

    I think that being Aspie can actually mask RAD. I think that because the Aspie child can blend with society faster than the child on a different place on the spectrum. So an Aspie child already understands something is wrong, they don’t know what it is. They can see that they don’t blend with society easily, even if they can communicate, so odd RAD thoughts may come in and out and they don’t address them because they already feel so weird.

    Also Aspie’s have a high sense of justice and an imagination like crazy. They are used to socially withdrawing as well. So when an angry thought comes in, they are used to not being touched because they have shied away from it and they just imagine the angry things, but don’t act on it because of the sense of Justice.

    I actually think there maybe some RAD Aspie’s in the public eye. Because as a RAD kid you are an emotional manipulator to a point where people might see you as a stone cold actor. As an Aspie you are highly intelligent and wildly creative. To make it in the acting biz you need to know when to sever ties, how manipulate yourself into the boardroom, and also be smart enough to stay there. Aspergers helps again because your sense of justice helps keep you from doing anything that might get you in social/media trouble. Aspie’s double down and focus and RAD kids learn how to chameleon themselves into and out of any situation without ever making an attachment strong enough to stop them from being successful.

    Also aren’t RAD kids susceptible to Finances replacing Affection. And Aspies Similarly to gaining comfort from narcissistic. So being an actor might just fit the bill.

    So I actually wonder if some RAD Aspie’s are actually Actors? Directors? Musicians? Etc. Because of how the two disorders manifest together.

    I’m not a doctor. I have no degree. But I am Aspie and I have an Attachment disorder. I find more comfort in the TV than I do the people around me. And I’m just wondering, because it all feels really lonely.


  • July 8, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    As an autistic adult, I prefer to be called autistic, not person with autism. It’s not a thing I have, it’s how my brain is built! I actually prefer spectral for casual use though.

    I’m interested in this conversation because I have extreme difficulties with trust in romantic relationships, and at 35 have only just been told to research attachment disorders. I see elements of RAD in myself, particularly the manipulation you describe. I think around age 14 I decided that it was pointless to manipulate people if you wanted to feel real in the world, and I strive for radical honesty, but I can still manipulate people if it breaks up a fight or de-escalates a situation. And that’s not at odds with the fact that I’m autistic, but I suspect the application of it may be different for neurotypicals. This is a very interesting area to consider in trying to establish why I have the conflicts I have. I only obtained my autism diagnosis 5 years ago so I am still exploring the ramifications of it. Thank you for this interesting post!


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Leave a Reply to W. R. Cummings Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *