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!

We Are Growing! ¡Estamos creciendo!

By Communication FIRST | Aug 4, 2022
abstract stock photo of fireworks and lights

Leer en español Please join us in welcoming our new Chair and Program Associates We are pleased to announce that, effective August 1, 2022, Jordyn Zimmerman, MEd (she/her), is the new Chair of CommunicationFIRST’s Board of Directors. We thank India Ochs, JD, MPA (she/her), for her critical leadership during CommunicationFIRST’s…

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What Does Gender Have To Do with Presuming Competence?

By Communication FIRST | Jun 30, 2022
screenshot of a page of an augmentative communication device showing words like nonbinary, genderfluid, identity, orientation, genderqueer, LGBTQ, queer, pride, trans, intersex, cis, gendervague, two-spirit, cishet, questioning, pansexual, asexual, gay, demisexual, lesbian, aromantic, heterosexual, demiromantic, straight, aspec

Guest Blog by Tuttleturtle I am an AAC user. I am also queer and trans. My AAC is part of my gender presentation. I have also never seen an AAC system represent someone like me. Even so, I’m a privileged AAC user. I’ve had access to education that taught me…

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We are hiring!

By Communication FIRST | Jun 3, 2022
view from above of nine pairs of hands, each holding a different kind of tablet, phone, or laptop with forearms resting on a wooden table

Thanks to a generous two-year grant from the Ford Foundation, we are looking to expand our team and advance our mission to achieve transformative change for people who cannot rely on speech alone to be heard and understood! Please see the job advertisement here: People of color, AAC users,…

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AAC Counts! How many strong are we?

By Communication FIRST | May 28, 2022
one hand holding a pen placed on a number chart, the other hand on a calculator

Did you know that federal and state governments in the United States do not regularly count people with speech disabilities, even though they count people with the other two main types of communication disabilities — hearing and vision? It is very difficult to design and measure the success of policies…

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School Shootings Easy-Read Resource (Updated)

By Communication FIRST | May 27, 2022
The Nora Project: What Are School Shootings, How Do They Make Us Feel, and What Can We Do About Them? K-12 Easy-Read. Logos of CommunicationFIRST and Teaching is Intellectual and Autistic Self Advocacy Network

We are devastated that there is a need for such a resource, but CommunicationFIRST is humbled to partner with The Nora Project, Teaching is Intellectual, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in the creation and sharing of this free, K-12 easy-read resource on school shootings: English version / Spanish version.…

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Thoughts from an Autistic AAC User After the April 2022 Meeting of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

By Communication FIRST | Apr 20, 2022
Young white man with brown hair sitting at a table typing on an iPad communication device. An inset of the screen he is typing on is visible. The screen and video captions read "Hi everyone."

Grant Blasko, a nonspeaking autistic augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) user and member of CommunicationFIRST’s Advisory Council, expressed the following reactions the day after the US Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) held its first meeting in years dedicated to the communication support needs of nonspeaking autistic people. A video recording…

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Bob Williams’s Invited Comments to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

By Communication FIRST | Apr 14, 2022
Screenshot of Communication First Policy Director Bob Williams, an older white male wearing a pink button down shirt, giving remarks using his speech generating device, to the NIH IACC. A Zoom screen of IACC Coordinator Susan Daniels is also visible.

CommunicationFIRST was one of five entities and individuals invited to deliver three-minute “oral” public comments to the US Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) on April 14, 2022, before the IACC’s first session in years devoted to the topic of the communication support needs of autistic people. CommunicationFIRST’s Policy Director, Bob…

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Jordyn Zimmerman’s Remarks to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee 

By Communication FIRST | Apr 14, 2022
Screenshot of Jordyn Zimmerman giving remarks to the NIH IACC with her speech generating device on April 14, 2022. Jordyn is a white woman with long, wavy brown hair, and is wearing a black blazer.

The following is the text of CommunicationFIRST Board Member Jordyn Zimmerman’s invited remarks to the US Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) on April 14, 2022. The remarks were invited as part of the IACC’s first session in years focused on the communication support needs of autistic people. Jordyn was the…

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Autism Acceptance … of Communication Stress?

By Communication FIRST | Apr 14, 2022
"We are working way harder to be heard than we get credit for." - Grant Blasko. Image of a serious looking young white man with brown hair standing outside in front of a natural background. CommunicationFIRST logo at bottom

Grant Blasko is a member of CommunicationFIRST’s Advisory Council. He is 19 years old, autistic, a full-time user of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and is a student in the state of Washington. Grant has collaborated with numerous institutions on issues relating to both autism and meaningful communication and educational…

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