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Thursday, 25 February 2021
Infant Attachment Checklist
Copyright by Walter D. Buenning, Ph.D., 1999

Symptom Examples

Adoptive moms share examples from their children’s daily lives. Just a few of these symptoms may indicate a problem. Please consult with an attachment therapist if you have concerns about your child.

On Dr. Buenning's website, you may download a pdf file and print this checklist as well as a separate symptom checklist designed for children ages 5 years & older. Each symptom is on a continuum from 0-10. Individual symptoms may present from mild to severe.

Examples are coded by age at adoption (a. ___months old) and by the child’s primary pre-adoptive care (FC=foster care, OR=orphanage.)

1. Cries; miserable all the time, chronically fussy
2. Resists comforting or nurturance
3. Resists or dislikes being held
4. Poor eye contact or avoids eye contact
5. Flat, lifeless affect (too quiet)
6. Likes playpen or crib more than being held
7. Rarely cries (overly good baby)
8. Angry or rageful when cries
9. Exceedingly demanding
10. Looks sad or empty-eyed
11. Wants to hold bottle as soon as possible
12. Stiffens or becomes rigid when held
13. Prefers being held with back toward mother
14. Does not hold on when being held (no reciprocal holding)
15. When held chest to chest, faces away
16. Does not return or reciprocate hugs
17. Generally unresponsive to parent
18. Cries or rages when held beyond his wishes
19. Overly independent play or makes no demands
20. Reaches for others to hold him rather than parent
21. Little or reduced verbal responsiveness
22. Does not return smiles
23. Shows very little imitative behavior
24. Prefers Dad to Mom
25. Gets in and out of parents lap frequently
26. Physically restless when sleeping
27. Does not react to pain (high pain tolerance)
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