How Are We Doing?: Family-School Relationships and Children With Reactive Attachment Disorder

Raol J. Taft*, Candace Schlein
School of Education, University of Missouri-Kansas City, MO, USA

© 2017 Taft and Schlein.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 365 Education Bldg., 615 E. 52nd St., Kansas City, MO, 64110, USA; Tel: 816-235-1041; E-mail:



Students with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) might benefit academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally from the establishment of effective, collaborative partnerships between home and school. Enhanced family interactions with schools might prove to promote positive outcomes in both home and school settings.


In this article, we examine the level and quality of home and school participation between parents of children with RAD and school professionals within the context of the principles of effective partnerships: communication, professional competence, respect, commitment, equality, advocacy, and trust.


This study employed a qualitative methodology utilizing the narrative inquiry research tradition. In particular, we employed a semi–structured interview method, which allowed us to ask clarifying questions, further probe specific responses, and provide participants with an opportunity to elaborate on their stories of experience if they so desired.


Using Turnbull et al.'s (2015) seven principles of effective partnership, data from this study indicated that for these parents, families were not allowed to participate as equal partners, if at all, in the educational process.


Results suggested that interactions with education professionals were often non-productive or adversarial and family input was often ignored. Effective partnerships were minimal to non-existent.

Keywords: Reactive Attachment Disorder, Family, Collaboration, Key stakeholders, Home-school partnerships, Special education.