6 Common Behaviors of Students with Attachment Disorder

A school can be another avenue for children with attachment disorder to explore a new environment and interact with other people. However, they need special treatment from educators and classmates as they respond differently to certain situations. There are signs and symptoms that may identify if children have an attachment disorder. According to Lawrence Smith, a prominent therapist specializing in attachment disorder, these symptoms will be manifested in their behavior in a school setting. Here are the common behaviors displayed by AD students in school:

Aggressive behavior

One of the signs of children with an attachment disorder is control issues and anger problems, thus, there is a tendency that they will exhibit full-blown temper outbursts at school. They may scream, shot, throw objects, and use profane and obscene language. They may also threaten someone verbally and physically. They may leave the classroom and school without permission as well.

Passive-aggressive behavior

Some AD students will also display a passive-aggressive behavior in which they like to disobey and defy rules and orders. They may not pass their assignments and do their homework. During quizzes, they will skip some parts of the test or purposely answer items wrongly. When speaking, they will answer incompletely or omit some words to make it difficult to understand. AD students do not want to appear compliant to the authority.

Repetitive behavior

AD students can also become annoying with their repetitive behavior. This includes asking irrelevant and excessive questions, making random noises, interrupting conversations and occurring minor infractions. They do this to express that they are not under the authority of the teacher or fellow students. Also, repetitive behavior can be ‘probes’ for AD students to send out into the environment to obtain information.

Regressive behavior

AD children can also exhibit immature behaviors in class. This includes mimicking the voice of a baby, crawling around the floor, pretending to be an animal, making sexual graphics, forcing a laugh and curling up under furniture, among others. Since they are covered with anxiety, the regressive behavior is their means of escaping from fear.

Response to instruction

AD students believe that projects and requirements are given to prove that teachers are in-charge of the class. As a response, AD students may often resort to task incompletion to show that the teacher is defeated. They are also confident that they do not need to comply with the assignment because they already know about it.


Children with attachment disorder have four responses to receiving support or acknowledgment in the school setting. First, they may accept the support without overreacting. Second, they can reject the recognition outright. Third, they may distrust the support as they perceive it as a trick by the teacher or adult to overpower. Lastly, sabotage their performance to contract the praise. AD students intentionally do this to appear like they are immune to praise and support.

With this, educators should be patient and understanding in accommodating students with attachment disorder. They should consider that these children are looking for special attention that is not provided to them at home.


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