Attachment disorder

Children develop relationships with their parents or caregivers first. This relationship teaches them to trust other people, how to express emotions and develop healthy bonds with other people.

As with many conditions, attachment disorder is a spectrum, meaning that some children are more severely affected than others.

Attachment disorder develops when very young children fail to bond with their parents or caregivers. It is not necessarily indicative of either neglect or abuse. If a child is neglected or abused they are likely to develop reactive attachment disorder which is on the most severe end of the spectrum.

Attachment disorder can lead to depression, learning difficulties, low self-esteem, relationship difficulties and social difficulties. Treatment tends to involve counselling, therapies and occasionally medication.

Attachment disorder can have an extensive impact on a child’s ability to engage with education or even attend school. Therefore, it can result in special educational needs (SEN). In our experience, SEN additional support may be adequate in the mild cases, whereas an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) will be necessary at the more severe end of the spectrum. Careful assessment of the impact of the disorder is required to establish the necessary level of support and special educational needs advice should be sought.


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