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!

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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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 (UPDATED)

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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