Following is a list of the symptoms of Developmental Trauma Disorder from the amazing Attachment Therapist who now resides and works in Oregon.  To reach Denise Best go to:  319 430 4383.




Symptoms of a child with Developmental Trauma Disorder


Relationships with others

Poor eye contact.

Rejects affection from parents (stiff, rigid, pushes away, squirms).

Acts overly charming to get their way/ Affectionate only on Childs terms.

Indiscriminate affection towards strangers (Disinhibited Type).

Acts incredibly innocent, even when caught in the act.

Demands things instead of asking for them.

Limited ability to accurately read and appropriately respond to social cues.

Gamey; try to get people in their service, make them mad (like they’re feeling).

Difficulty developing emotionally reciprocal relationships.

Difficulty being able to trust adults/parents to meet their needs.

Difficulty respecting authority figures, and adults in general.


Mood & Biological Regulation

Temper tantrums lasting up to 2 hours, can argue for long periods of time.

Difficulty sustaining or regaining (age appropriate) emotional regulation.

Nonstop chattering or asking questions they know the answers for.

Extremely high anxiety, therefore a need to control others & environment.

Impulsive, Hyperactive, Inattentive, but

Can also be hypervigilant/attentive to all sounds & movement around them.

High pain tolerance and/or refuses to let anyone help or comfort.

Daredevil, risk-taking behaviors and/or accident prone.

Food issues: hoards, sneaks, gorges or eats very slowly.

Under high stress default to “Fight, Flight, or Freeze” states, Dissociates.



Deliberately breaks things – then doesn’t’ appear to miss them.

Steals – often things would’ve been given permission for.

False allegations of abuse/maltreatment.

Do “Paybacks” (revenge) for perceived wrongs/ not getting their way.

Sneaks things – even when would’ve received permission had they asked.

Lies – crazy made up stories, to get out of trouble, get others in trouble.

In more severe cases, lack of remorse or lack of capacity to experience victim

empathy: harmful to animals and smaller children, sexual obsession

and/or predatory behavior, preoccupation with fire and gore.



Doesn’t appear to be able to learn from mistakes (poor cause & effect).

Behavior typically good at school, but poor academic effort/progress.

Intellectual, Emotional, and Physical Developmental Delays (often 2-4 years).

Learning Disorders: Receptive & Expressive Language Processing problems.

Mental Health Disorders: Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or

Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (without facial features).



Feel alone, sad, worthless, and unlovable.

Filled with shame and a deep sense of “not belonging”.