CommunicationFIRST’s long-term goals seek to: (1) Improve Understanding and Change Attitudes; (2) Reform Policies and Improve Practices; and (3) Protect and Defend Legal Rights. The following is a modest sampling of what we’d like to achieve.
To increase society’s understanding of the fundamental importance, power, and necessity of human communication.
To reduce the barriers currently preventing the vast majority of people with speech disorders from accessing effective communication supports and systems.
To develop more rigorous data characterizing our population’s size, diversity, and unmet needs in order to improve general understanding and to assist policymakers in designing informed and better-tailored policies and practices.
To change minds, prejudices, misperceptions, and expectations about people who have difficulty speaking.
To ensure members of our community are seen, heard, respected, meaningfully integrated, and afforded the same opportunities and rights that people without communication-related disabilities enjoy throughout life.
To increase awareness, understanding, and comfort among the general public about how to interact with and support effective communication with an unconventional communicator, and how to respect and meaningfully include all people with communication disabilities.
To empower people with speech-related disabilities to lead change and reform in their communities by helping to foster and develop effective self-advocacy and civic engagement skills and strategies.
To improve access to health care by equipping medical professionals with the knowledge, tools, and resources to communicate with, obtain informed consent from, and appropriately treat patients with communication disabilities.
To build connections, alliances, and a common identity among our diverse community with communication support needs.