Attachment Responses

Attachment Responses

A child having an ‘attachment response’ (protest crying) is completely normal and is usually at the peak from 8 months to 2 years old. Research indicates that from approximately 2 years and 9 months old the right-brain is ready for emotional and intuitive activity and the left-brain can comprehend and remember patterns and allow the child to understand and predict that ‘mum will come back’. 

Before 8 months of age it is slightly easier for a child to adapt to new caregivers and surroundings because they are not yet as aware of their surroundings or as able to recognise faces as a child who is eight to 12 months old. At around 8 months old babies are starting to comprehend object permanence, meaning that just because an object is not seen does not mean it is completely gone rather, it is only somewhere else (Peek a Boo and hiding a known toy under a cloth for discovery are great ways to cement this concept). 

Little ones on the Autism Spectrum, ADHD or sensory processing disorders may have an increased level of separation anxiety. This is because unlike most neurotypical children, they cannot filter out all the external stimulus that isn’t really ‘needed’ so they are more easily overwhelmed by the huge big world and may need their safe person to help filter it for them, translate it for them or act as a buffer.

Keep in mind too, that these children with superpowers may express affection differently so their signs may not be those indicated above. Some ASD children do not like to be hugged or touched. This doesn’t mean they are avoidant, this just means they don’t like this particular style of connection. This is neither right nor wrong, it just is. They may not make direct eye contact or smile or be verbal. Again, these are neither right nor wrong. Learn your child and accept them for who they are. They are perfect the way they are. They don’t need to learn ‘neurotypical’ ways of displaying affection or communicating, they are perfectly fine as is. It is up to you to learn what their specific cues are. Maybe it’s arm flapping when you enter the room and that’s a sign of ‘Hi Mum, I’m super happy to see you!’ – awesome. Maybe they might come and rebound off the side of you – awesome affection/acknowledgement signal. 

Maybe your ADHD child is dysregulated right now or over stimulated, that doesn’t mean they are necessarily a ‘disorganised’ attachment style, it just means that they don’t have the ability to regulate their little selves just yet. Look at the overall patterns and how they interact with you.

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