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!

Dear Parents Who Want to Keep Their Nonspeaking Children Safe as They Go Out Into the World

By Communication First | Jan 27, 2021
A Black non-binary person with a filtering face mask walks down a neighborhood street with one hand in their pocket and the other hand on their cane. They have a short mohawk and are wearing a jacket, shorts, tennis shoes, and glasses.

Every day, your child is growing up, and there is a world out there for them. You want that for them – you want everything for them – and yet, the world can be a scary place.

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Communication Equity Call to Action

By Communication First | Jan 14, 2021
"Communication Equity Call to Action" in white letters on black background with CommunicationFIRST logo in green, black and white, and tagline "Because communication is a human right"

CommunicationFIRST and the 47 undersigned supporters of communication rights, access, and equity urge the incoming Biden-Harris Administration to take immediate and specific steps to safeguard and advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities, especially individuals who have little to no understandable speech and rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

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National Survey Reveals Students with Communication Disabilities Are Being Denied Safe Access to Education

By Communication First | Jan 4, 2021
12 year old AAC and wheelchair user Leo True-Frost participating in virtual learning on a laptop with the support of his father Jim True-Frost. Both are smiling. Leo is looking at the laptop and using his left forefinger on the trackpad of the laptop. Jim is seated to his left, wearing glasses, and is smiling with a bemused look at the camera. Both are white. Leo has dark hair and is wearing a navy long sleeved shirt. Jim has light hair and is wearing a grey short sleeved t-shirt. They appear to be seated in a living room facing windows with a fireplace behind them.

In November and December 2020, CommunicationFIRST surveyed families of students with expressive communication disabilities and significant support needs about how well they are being supported to access their education during the pandemic. Families were invited to participate if the student had been enrolled in a public or private Pre-K to…

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Are AAC Users at Greater Risk of Dying from COVID? (Updated)

By Communication First | Dec 20, 2020
two people in blue-green scrubs and masks hovering over a patient

These nine studies, published between May and December 2020, tell us people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (including those who rely on AAC) are between 1.7 and 16 times more likely to die from COVID if they get it than those who do not have I/DD. 

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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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