Perspectives will be updated regularly with profiles and guest blogs from our members and allies, essays, news, photos, videos, and other features. Come back often!

Students, Know Your (Virtual) Access Rights!

By Communication First | Sep 21, 2020
empty old style classroom with wooden desks, wood floor, and green blackboard

In response to multiple requests, we’ve prepared a resource to help our student members (US residents who cannot rely on speech to be understood) learn about their rights to the in-person supports they may need to accommodate their disabilities to access virtual education during the pandemic. If your public district…

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CommunicationFIRST Joins Complaint Against MedStar for Violating Communication Rights of DC Patient

By Communication First | Sep 17, 2020
artsy black and white stock photo looking upward at modernist concrete scaffolding on the outside of a building

Yesterday, CommunicationFIRST joined Disability Rights DC and other disability rights groups in filing a complaint against MedStar, a private hospital in the District of Columbia, for violating the communication rights of a patient for failing to provide him the in-person supports he requires to communicate with health care personnel and to provide informed consent.

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When Professors Are Welcoming: Disability Inclusion Practices in the Classroom

By Communication First | Aug 26, 2020
Angelica Vega, a woman in her early 20s with brown skin and curly brown hair wearing a sleeveless brown dress standing in front of a white boat railing with blue skies and a body of water in the background and Manhattan skyscrapers in the distance. She is wearing red lipstick and has her mouth open as if in pleasant surprise.

Professor Simms’ course is an excellent example for instructors to follow, even after the pandemic ends. Open communication, with a commitment to disability inclusion in the classroom, is what ought to be exhibited by every instructor. Societal changes start at the community level, with education laying the foundation. As I watched my online commencement with my family and friends, I looked towards the future in hope, anticipating the day when the validation and accommodation of students and their experiences would be commonplace for all.

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CommunicationFIRST Joins Amicus Brief Challenging Rollback of Communication Protections in Health Care Settings

By Communication First | Aug 11, 2020
tall white facade buildings against a blue sky; one building has the word hospital in blue letters

Yesterday, CommunicationFIRST joined an amicus brief in federal court in support of Washington state’s Attorney General to seek a preliminary injunction to prevent a regulatory rollback of communication protections in health care settings.

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Coalition Urges Virginia Governor to Prevent Discrimination Against Patients with Disabilities

By Communication First | Jul 20, 2020
Empty seats and hallway near a hospital nurse's station

RICHMOND, Va. — On Friday, July 17, 2020, CommunicationFIRST joined a coalition of state and national disability groups sent a letter to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam urging him to ensure Virginia hospitals and other health care facilities comply with federal civil rights law and recent guidance from the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services to ensure patients with communication and other disability-related support needs are able to access the in-person supports they need while receiving medical treatment.

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July 17 Event: AAC User Chat with Judy Heumann

By Communication First | Jul 8, 2020
Flyer titled "AAC User Chat with Judy Heumann," with Communication FIRST logo, headshot photos of Judy Heumann, Bob Williams, and Hari Srinivasan, with a description of the event and a link to register

We are excited to host this special opportunity for AAC users to engage with civil rights legend and CommunicationFIRST Board Member Judy Heumann on July 17!

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Significant Victory for Patients with Disabilities in Response to Joint CommunicationFIRST Complaint on Hospital No-Visitor Policies

By Communication First | Jun 9, 2020
one hand gently held in another

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, in response to the first federal complaint challenging discriminatory hospital “no-visitor” policies, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced a resolution agreement making clear that federal law requires hospitals and the state agencies overseeing them to modify policies to ensure patients with disabilities can safely access the in-person supports needed to benefit from medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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CommunicationFIRST Stands in Solidarity with All Those Impacted by Racial Injustice

By Communication First | Jun 5, 2020
"Black lives matter" in yellow, all-caps text superimposed on black and white image of people protesting

Racism will not be defeated solely through the actions of those affected. We must work together toward this common goal. We will not, we cannot, be silent.

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National COVID-19 Policy Must Ensure Communication Access

By Communication First | May 29, 2020
logos of the nine national advocacy groups signing May 29 2020 Letter to Congress

CommunicationFIRST today joins eight other national organizations that that work with and advocate for Limited English Proficient (LEP) populations, deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, blind persons, and people who cannot rely on speech to be heard and understood, in a letter to Congress urging it to ensure the federal response to…

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