What is the Foundations for Divergent Minds model?
The Foundations for Divergent Minds (FDM) model is a framework designed by autistic and neurodivergent people that is based on neurodiversity principles. FDM suggests that when a neurodivergent individual struggles, it is because their surroundings need adjustment. We recommend utilizing our five step method to uncover what is missing from their environment via a personalized assessment that incorporates sensory integration, executive functioning, respectful communication, operative social interaction, and emotional regulation.
Sensory Integration incorporates the 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 neurodivergent individuals' unique sensory needs to facilitate environmental changes and encourage individuals to advocate for their own needs.
Executive Functioning is comprised of 8 interconnected processes: Initiation, Inhibition, Working Memory, Planning, Organization, Self-Monitoring, Shift and Emotional Regulation. These processes 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 neurodivergent individuals in their authentic communication style(s) through technology, ASL, speaking, etc.
Social Interaction involves two or more people, each with their own style(s) of interpersonal engagement. The FDM model promotes effective, culturally sensitive self-advocacy skills, practical accommodations, and healthy, reciprocal interaction and understanding.
Emotional Regulation can be difficult to maintain when the environment around a person is not equipped for their specific needs. The FDM model works to identify and discover unmet needs to help create systems of support to enhance self-regulatory tools and improve quality of life.