What is the Foundations for Divergent Minds model?
The Foundations for Divergent Minds model is a framework designed by autistic and neurodivergent people for use by families and professionals working with autistic and neurodivergent children. Based on Neurodiversity principles, FDM suggests that when a child struggles, it is because their surroundings need to be adjustment and assessment should find what is missing from their environment.
There are 8 Sensory Systems: Sight, Sound, Smell, Touch, Taste, Balance, Movement, and Internal State. In each area, a person can be anywhere from hypo-sensitive to hyper-sensitive. The FDM model identifies each child's unique sensory needs to make environmental changes and teaches children to advocate for their own needs.
Executive functioning is comprised of 8 processes: Initiation, Inhibition, Working Memory, Planning, Organization, Self-Monitoring, Shift and Emotional Regulation. These are the processes that enable an action to be started, organized and completed. The FDM model encourages creating steps to increase accessibility in all areas of life by remedying complex or unclear systems.
Communication comes in many valid forms with behavior being one of our earliest reliable tools. The FDM model honors all forms of communication and works to support children in their authentic communication style through technology, ASL, picture systems, etc.
Social Interaction involves two or more people, each with their own communication styles. The FDM model promotes self-advocacy skills and accommodations in home, school and the community to support reciprocal understanding between neurodivergent children and their peers.
Emotional Regulation can be difficult to maintain when the environment around a person is not equipped for their specific needs. The FDM model works with children to identify and discover what the child needs and creates a system of support to improve their quality of life.