Attachment is at the root of most mental illnesses, according to Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities. The report (http://www.americanvalues.org/ExSumm-print.pdf) was written by a group of 33 leading children’s doctors, neuroscientists, research scholars and mental health professionals. Of these mental disorders, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is often misunderstood or underdiagnosed. Most local therapists know little about it. While all professional therapists have heard of disorders such as Oppositional Defiance Disorder, OCD, ADHD and Anxiety disorders, few are familiar or experienced in the treatment of RAD. Due to current research and more accurate diagnoses, however, this is changing.
Turning Point Camp in Chattanooga was established because of two local women and their personal experience with RAD. Local parent support group Advanced Parents Stepping Up (APSU) founders Tobie Sehon and Jennie Landreth teamed up to provide support to local families struggling with this disorder. Ms. Landreth’s own adopted daughter was diagnosed with RAD. For years, Ms. Landreth was the target of her daughter’s rage and anxiety that was, some say, caused by trauma she experienced before her adoption.
“We had gotten to the end of our rope and were terrified for what lay ahead for our daughter. We had tried everything,” said Ms. Landreth. “We sought help from every professional we thought might be able to help us and still just ended up watching our daughter get worse and worse. When we heard about this camp from Nancy Thomas, we were there three weeks later. It was the first time we saw any progress with our daughter. That change continued after camp by using what we had learned there and has brought our daughter and family the healing we had given up on.”
Ms. Landreth and Ms. Sehon, cohosts of Turning Point Camp, want others to know that there is help available for those struggling with a challenging child and say the idea to host a camp in Chattanooga came naturally. “After how much it helped my family - it was just the next logical step,” Ms. Landreth said. “We have to keep passing along this message because local professionals don't know enough about Reactive Attachment Disorder to be able to help the families in our community. This is a great way to train them as well and we hope to have more local therapists become involved in this camp. It is my hope that if I can help even just one family with the camp and these seminars, that I can pay it forward and keep hope alive for other families that are out there struggling with RAD and other mental disorders.”
Turning Point Camp will be held at Fort Bluff Camp in Dayton on Oct. 20-26, and is sponsored by Advanced Parents Stepping Up (APSU). The fall camp is currently full, but a waiting list is available. A spring camp is scheduled for March 9-15, 2014 and registration is open now: http://www.turningpointcamp.com/index.php/register1/.
Seminars will also be held Oct. 17 and 18, by highly sought after Author and Therapeutic Parenting Specialist Nancy Thomas. These seminars are available to educators and mental health professionals and may potentially be used as continuing education credits and professional development hours. Turning Point Camp Director Nancy Thomas will also be facilitating the camps. The seminars are filling up fast and seating is limited, so for more information or to register for the seminars, visit http://www.turningpointcamp.com/index.php/seminar/.