"Access. Opportunity. Justice." is written above the round CommunicationFIRST logo in black and white, with the tagline "Because communication is a human right." On the right is the Giving Tuesday logo and the words: "Support the fight for communication justice and equity!"

We postponed our 4th birthday fundraiser in early October due to world events. This week, we are combining Giving Tuesday with that annual fundraiser and setting an ambitious goal of raising $25,000 by December 1! Help us celebrate our birthday and Giving Tuesday at the same time. We cannot advance our mission to improve the civil rights of people with speech disabilities without your support. The first $2,500 was matched by the law firm of Vanaman German LLP. The next $7,000 in contributions will be matched by The Gupta Foundation! Thank you for your generosity!

$19,618 of $25,000 raised

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    Donation Total: $250.00 One Time

    With your help, over the past 4 years, we have begun to transform the national conversation about the legal rights and lived experiences of people who need and use augmentative and alternative (AAC) tools and supports. We are ensuring conversations at the federal and state level around policy issues that impact us – guardianship, access to health care, restraint and seclusion, education, access to justice, employment, institutionalization, effective communication, and more – include our voices and address our interests. We are ambitious and unrelenting disabled advocates who believe in radical inclusion and acceptance. We are fighting to change hearts and minds, and to build a world that centers justice, community, dignity, and humanity. And we are just getting started. We have so much more to do and with your help, we will!
    Stock image photo of white hands typing on a laptop keyboard

    Digital Accessibility for AAC Users is a Civil Rights Issue

    By Communication FIRST | November 7, 2023

    Government websites and apps are a central lever for exercising our civic and constitutionally grounded rights and responsibilities of freedom of expression, assembly, grievance, petition, protest, jury duty, and the franchise. As a matter of right and necessity, people who need AAC must be afforded equally effective access to state and local government websites and apps that all others are afforded.

    Stock image photo showing two hands, one on a tablet and one holding a writing utensil in front of an open laptop

    Federally Funded Research About AAC Needs to Change

    By Communication FIRST | November 7, 2023

    Last month, CommunicationFIRST submitted extensive input to one of the largest federal government funders of AAC-related research – the National…

    Fuzzy stock image of a smart phone

    The FCC Needs to Address Digital Discrimination Against People Who Need AAC

    By Communication FIRST | October 17, 2023

    Invited Remarks of CommunicationFIRST Policy Director Bob Williams to the Federal Communications Commission Task Force to Prevent Digital Discrimination  September 14, 2023 Gallaudet…

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    CommunicationFIRST Welcomes Long-Overdue Disability Rights Rule Proposal

    By Communication FIRST | September 7, 2023

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2023                Contact: Tauna Szymanski & Bob Williams at info@communicationfirst.org, 202-556-0573 WASHINGTON, D.C. – CommunicationFIRST,…

    CommunicationFIRST Executive Director Tauna Szymanski and Policy Director Bob Williams in front of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) seal. The seal is located in the lobby of the U.S. Department of Education building and hangs on a wall of marble. The words, “The Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access” are below the seal. Bob is a smiling white man with white hair and a mustache wearing glasses and a bowtie with a button-down shirt and khaki pants, sitting in a motorized wheelchair with an AAC device in front of him. Tauna is a smiling white woman with brown hair. She is standing behind Bob and is wearing black and holding a black bag with the CommunicationFIRST logo on it in white.

    Unjustly isolated, silenced, and deprived of literacy and freedom of expression …

    By Communication FIRST | August 29, 2023

    I escaped the very worst that hundreds of thousands of baby boomers like me endured: institutionalization, isolation, illiteracy, and silencing. We believe that many — and likely most — young people needing AAC today are suffering virtually the same fate I escaped over 50 years ago.

    The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders wants to hear from you!

    Research Priorities of AAC Users

    By Communication FIRST | August 6, 2023

    We encourage as many AAC users as possible to share your research priorities with NIDCD.

    "What is Research?" in black on a bright yellow background with a stylized lightbulb and several question marks in white

    What Is Research?

    By Communication FIRST | August 1, 2023

    This is a plain language guide to research and why it is important. The government is asking people what kind…

    A "word cloud" of this document, showing the words that are used most frequently. The largest words are language, speech, disability, people, communication, and words.

    The Words We Use

    By Communication FIRST | July 11, 2023

    We are naming ourselves. And we choose our words with great care. Our decisions are guided by respect for the diversity of our community and for every person’s right to choose the words they use for themselves.

    Screengrab of the NIDILRR Research Long Range Planning Stakeholder Follow Up Webinar on April 20, 2023. On the left, there is a slide with the working definition of “Ableism” by Talila Lewis. At the top of the slide, the word “ableism” is followed by its pronunciation and the word, “noun.” Below, the definition reads, “A system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. This systemic oppression leads to people and society determining people’s value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, ‘health/wellness’, and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, ‘excel’ and ‘behave.’ You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism.” Below the definition, yellow text reads, “Working definition by @TalilaLewis, updated January 2022, developed in community with disabled Black/negatively racialized folk, especially @NotThreeFifths.” On the right, there is an ASL interpreter with light skin wearing a black shirt. On the right of the ASL interpreter, there is a woman with brown skin and long black hair up in a ponytail wearing a red shirt with flowers and a black suit jacket.

    When Agencies Listen

    By Communication FIRST | May 16, 2023

    It’s gratifying when policymakers #LISTEN!  On November 21, 2022, CommunicationFIRST submitted comments to the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living,…