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!

AAC Users Chat with Disability Rights Legend Judy Heumann

By Communication First | Nov 28, 2020

Those are just three of the questions asked by people who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) at our first in a series of events with civil and disability rights leaders. The July 17 event, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), featured disability rights…

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CommunicationFIRST Statement on the Film “Music”

By Communication First | Nov 21, 2020
The words "Listen. Include. Honor. Respect. Amplify. Represent." in white lettering on a black background with the CommunicationFIRST logo and tagline "Because communication is a human right" underneath

Including, respecting, honoring, and listening to people who cannot rely on speech to be heard and understood can be hard if you’ve never done it before. It can be especially hard if you have never seen it done before. Genuine representation and inclusion is essential for our people to rise…

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Communication Disabilities and the 2020 Presidential Debates

By Communication First | Oct 23, 2020
image of empty lectern with American flags and a "Vote" placard

by Angelica Vega, Guest Blogger If there were one word to describe the First Presidential Debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, it would be “chaotic.” The millions of viewers who tuned in that night witnessed 90 minutes of interruptions and cringe-worthy responses. The distractions and…

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CommunicationFIRST Petitions FCC to Add Text and Video Options for Suicide Lifeline

By Communication First | Oct 18, 2020
Left hand holding iPhone with 988 typed into the text message address and right index finger positioned over the phone as if ready to type

On October 16, 2020, CommunicationFIRST joined with the National Association of the Deaf other communication rights organizations to formally petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include text and direct video calling options to allow people with speech and hearing disabilities to access a federally mandated three-digit National Suicide Lifeline that will launch in 2022.

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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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