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!

Is Your Hospital Visitor Policy Discriminatory?

By Communication First | May 15, 2020
sepia-colored image of two hands holding another

We have received multiple calls from around the country about overly restrictive hospital “no-visitor” policies. These policies often allow visitors for patients without disabilities, including infants, children, women giving birth, and those at the end of life, but prevent access to the support people necessary for patients with disabilities.

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CommunicationFIRST Files First Challenge to Hospital Visitor Policies

By Communication First | May 4, 2020
blurry image of well-lit hospital hallway with open red door visible at left

Earlier today, CommunicationFIRST, together with Disability Rights Connecticut, the Center for Public Representation, and the Arc of the United States filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) regarding the failure to provide people with disabilities reasonable accommodations to hospital no-visitor policies in effect during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit

By Communication First | Mar 27, 2020
image of hospital hallway with hospital bed and people in scrubs in the distance

CommunicationFIRST has prepared a COVID-19 Communication Rights Toolkit, recognizing that our population—people who face significant barriers being understood with speech and accessing effective communication supports in the best of times—is likely to face even greater barriers to accessing our necessary communication supports if we are hospitalized due to a coronavirus infection.

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What Is My Name?

By Communication First | Feb 22, 2020
Melissa Crisp-Cooper smiling, sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a purple t-shirt with the CommunicationFIRST logo.

I often wonder if something as basic as my name is so difficult for people to understand, then how are they supposed to understand anything about my personality, my core, the basic essence of my being. How was I supposed to come across as smart, snarky, sexy Melissa Crisp if everyone heard Marissa Crap tumble from my lips?

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CommunicationFIRST Joins Federal Lawsuit Against Illegal Restraint and Seclusion

By Communication First | Oct 8, 2019
image of US Supreme Court

Washington, DC – A lawsuit filed today alleges that students with disabilities in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) experience unjustified discrimination, psychological trauma, and physical harm from the widespread and improper use of restraint and seclusion.

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Making Communication a Reality for All

By Communication First | Oct 2, 2019
wood plank hand-carved with capital letters A-Z and numbers

We can and must advocate together for the human and civil right to effective communication for all children and adults, regardless of condition, disability, and support need. Here is why I believe this is CommunicationFIRST’s urgent, essential duty.

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Defining “Intellectual Disability”

By Communication First | Oct 1, 2019
stylistic quotation marks on orange background

Does the “ID” Label Do More Harm Than Good? CommunicationFIRST recently submitted comments in response to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) July 1, 2019 public call for input on a proposed revision to the definition of “intellectual disability” (ID) in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of…

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Meet Board Chair India Ochs

By Communication First | Aug 29, 2019
base of white marble columns evoking justice theme

Meet CommunicationFIRST Board Chair India Ochs, a lawyer, social justice advocate, parent, avid soccer player, fan of musical theater, and student of karate, not necessarily in that order. She was also born with a speech-related communication disability and is a life-long AAC user. India has been active throughout her adult…

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Meet CommunicationFIRST Director Judy Heumann

By Communication First | Jul 24, 2019

Anyone familiar with US disability rights history needs no introduction to Judy Heumann. We are honored that she has decided to take up this important fight and to share her wisdom and experience from decades leading the disability movement and advancing civil and human rights worldwide. Judy kindly agreed to…

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