Why we move our feet, hearts & hands for reactive attachment disorder advocacy (and how you can too)
Updated: Sep 23
Amy VanTine didn’t have an advocate to stand beside her as she parented a child with reactive attachment disorder (RAD), a serious brain condition that results from childhood trauma.
So Amy started the nonprofit RAD Advocates. She didn't want other parents alone in the fight to change a broken system and a world ill-equipped to support traumatized kids and their families.
Amy moves for change after having to give custody of her adopted daughter back to the state. It was the only way to get her daughter the services she needed for reactive attachment disorder and to secure safety for everyone in the family.
RAD Advocates Chief Operating Officer Heather Houze, once a member of RAD Advocates herself, moves because she did get the advocacy she needed.
Though her family struggled for too long, Heather experienced the transformation in eventually finding support. With time, her son was able to thrive in their family.
RAD Advocates moves for other parents like Cheryl, Kelly* and Pastor Michael, those who do everything they can to care for their traumatized kids and keep the rest of their families safe and healthy. But parents can’t do it alone, as they're often expected to do.
We at RAD Advocates do everything we can to advocate for change for those raising kids with RAD, including:
Representing parents in front of influential clinicians so that they may better understand and treat RAD, just like we did at the Mayo Clinic
Sitting beside and advocating for parents at social services meetings
Educating future therapists about the widely misunderstood disorder on university campuses
RAD Advocates is moving to help professionals understand that reactive attachment disorder is a brain disorder caused by trauma. Just like any other serious disorder, parents can’t fix it with love.
We move to change the system so that social services will wrap support around families and traumatized kids, not threats and intimidation—a disgraceful tragedy that occurs throughout counties all over the country.
You can move for systemic change for RAD too. Move for change with RAD Advocates.
Move to keep RAD Advocates in front of those working in social services, as clinicians and in other important roles. So the people charged with doing good can do far better for families with traumatized kids. Move to give parents a stronger voice.
Here’s how to get moving for change:
1. Launch your campaign.
Decide how you’ll move and register your page. Anything goes, from yoga to raking leaves. Just pick an activity you can track and share with others.
2. Show your heart—share your “why”.
Share your passion for RAD advocacy on your fundraising page, social media, and via email. You’re not only advocating for change, you are educating others through your own story.
3. Move your hands! Get on your phone or computer and donate to your own campaign. Next, ask others to do the same.
Even if you just donate $10, you show that you are vested in your own cause. Send social posts and emails asking friends and family to support your movement.
4. Move your body, from head to feet. Get creative, have fun, and share your progress.
The weather is cooling off. Grab a friend, your spouse, or dog for autumn afternoon walks. Or simply move your mug from up to down as you enjoy a hot beverage in the mornings. Whether you commit to a certain number of steps walked, stairs stepped, or cups of coffee drank, share your progress consistently so your supporters can remember your mission and cheer you on.
What’s “your why”?
Let people know why you’re passionate about RAD education and advocacy. And ask them to support you. Your story is the catalyst for change.
*Name changed to protect identity
About the author:
With a background in the nonprofit, education and mental health sectors, Nichole Noonan writes to raise awareness and funds for important causes. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and a Master of Education. Nichole founded Pen & Stick Communications to help noble organizations and people further their reach in the world.