I'll preface this by saying that the changes I have witnessed in her are due to a very multi-layered approach to parenting and, obviously, to my daughter's own ability to learn and grow. Here is what I attribute the changes to, in no particular order:
~INTENSE attachment parenting for four years.
~ Practicing the BCLC method as often as possible
~The switch from schooling to homeschooling and, finally, to unschooling.
~ At least an hour EVERY day of close one on one contact (i.e. cuddling!)
~ Co-sleeping for four years.
~Pet therapy via our three pets! She has benefited SO much from their unconditional love.
~Dream Talk - we stay in bed and discuss her dreams every morning, as they usually hold alot of her anxiety. She likes figuring out what they mean.
~Allowing Regression: baby talk, bottle feeding, feety pajamas, whatever she gravitates towards and not putting a limit on how long she needs it.
~ Psychotherapy: only 8 months this far, but helpful
~Medication: 20mg celexa has provided a HUGE relief from her anxiety and defiance.
~Letting go of the typical timetable: she may not 'graduate' at 18, but who cares? She may not learn to drive or get a job for a few more years...who cares? Not me!
~ Keeping the Love Unconditional. I promised her that I was her safe place FOREVER, no matter WHAT she did or failed to do. I stand by that. She still needs reminders weekly, and STILL thinks she will be sent back to Russia for the smallest infraction, but I just keep gently reminding her of my promise and doing all I can to prove to her it's forever.
Here is the list of symptoms, and which ones have changed for us (and which ones are still an issue):
~Exhibits need to control everything and everyone: lessened, but still an issue
~Constant chatter, manic behavior when dysregulated: now only before big transitions, like a trip
~Fascination with violence, blood & gore, or fire: MUCH less, though fire is still a bit of an issue
~ abnormal sleep patterns/chronic insomnia: still a daily issue: unchanged.
~Attitude of entitlement or self importance: lessened, but still evident
~ Food issues, such as hoarding, gorging: bit of hoarding, intermittent gorging. We are working on this one every day!
~Trouble understanding cause and effect: hasn't changed much.
~Frequent rage, often over trivial issues: MUCH better, happens infrequently - used to be every day.
~ no empathy/ difficulty with empathy: BIGGEST change. She definitely experiences empathy, especially with animals and children under two.
~Developmental/learning delays: not sure if this will ever go away.
~Destructive to property or self: Almost nonexistent now, unless extremely dysregulated
~ Fear often manifests as anger: still her M.O. This will take many years, I think.
~Argumentative, defiant: yes, but more like a typical teen now.
~Triangulation of adults: lessened, but still evident when I am with my brothers.
~Poor impulse control: getting better every day
~ Hyper vigilant: still happens in new situations, but to a lesser degree ( i.e., it doesn't happen at the supermarket like it used to -- EVERY week!)
So, all told -- huge changes. I'll try to do this check-in every six months and see how things continue to develop over time.
If you're a RAD parent, please add a comment and let me know what things have been most helpful for you in dealing with RAD. Of course, so much went unmentioned above. I give God (in whatever form you wish to call Him) the most credit. I know the patience I have developed is His doing. There is no way I could have learned that on my own!