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!

Restraint and Seclusion Litigation Against Fairfax County Public Schools Is Resolved

By Communication First | Nov 24, 2021
image of US Supreme Court

We are pleased to announce that CommunicationFIRST, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA), and six students with disabilities have successfully resolved our federal restraint and seclusion case against Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia. Two of the student plaintiffs, Q.T. and…

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Meet Pancho Ramirez, CommunicationFIRST’s Newest Board Member!

By Communication First | Nov 22, 2021
A black and white sketch line drawing of the face and shoulders of a Latinx-appearing man wearing glasses, a baseball cap, a moustache and goatee, wearing headphones and a head mouse with a slight smile on his face

Pancho Ramirez is CommunicationFIRST’s newest Board member. As a Mexican immigrant farmworker, he acquired his speech disability in 2003 at age 20 after a car accident led to a brain stem stroke, and has lived in nursing homes and hospitals in northern California ever since. While living in an institutional…

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Tell the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee to Support Nonspeaking People and Communication Access!

By Communication First | Nov 21, 2021
Image has text that reads "Request for Public Comment: The IACC invites public comment to inform the development of the 2021-2022 IACC Strategic Plan" with images with the covers of former strategic plans and the logo of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee

The U.S. Government‘s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) helps determine how federal government money related to autism is spent. Although CommunicationFIRST is a cross-disability organization, a large percentage of our constituency is autistic. We have been encouraged to submit comments to help inform the 2021-2022 IACC Strategic Plan, and we…

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Guest Blog: Communication Barriers Faced by AAC Users in Accessing Health Care

By Communication First | Nov 19, 2021
partial image of an AAC device with the words "taking access and choice away is terrorizing"

by endever* corbin This guest blog is adapted from a presentation given at the August 2021 Reinventing Quality conference. I’m endever*, I go by they/them pronouns, and I’m a mostly nonspeaking autistic self-advocate. I focus a lot of my writing and presentations on my experiences with AAC-augmentative and alternative communication. …

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CommunicationFIRST to DC Council: Eliminate IQ Requirement to Qualify for Services

By Communication First | Nov 15, 2021
abstract image of the back of a male-appearing black person with short black curly hair wearing a peach colored shirt who appears to be sitting at a desk in the back of a classroom

On November 5, 2021, CommunicationFIRST’s Policy Director, Bob Williams, submitted written testimony to urge the DC Council (Washington, DC’s legislative body) to quickly pass a bill that would eliminate a requirement for IQ tests to be used in deciding who qualifies to receive developmental disability services. The Developmental Disability Eligibility…

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AAC Users Interview Jordyn Zimmerman (Updated with Recordings)

By Communication First | Oct 29, 2021
Text says "AAC Users Interview Jordyn Zimmerman - November 10, 2021 - 7:00 pm ET" Image of Jordyn, a young white adult woman with long brown hair sitting on a stage typing on an augmentative communication device, next to a flyer of the documentary film "This Is Not About Me"

On November 10, 2021, CommunicationFIRST hosted an opportunity for AAC users to interview Jordyn Zimmerman about the new documentary This Is Not About Me, featuring Jordyn and her educational experiences with and without access to robust augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).¬†CommunicationFIRST’s Policy Director (and full-time AAC user), Bob Williams, moderated…

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LISTEN wins Film Festival Award!

By Communication First | Oct 7, 2021
Film laurels "Winner Astoria Film Festival 2021" LISTEN #ListenToNonspeakers on black white lettering and CommunicationFIRST logo in green and blue

We are thrilled and humbled to share that our film LISTEN: Made by and with Nonspeaking Autistics won the Zukor Award at the 2021 Astoria Film Festival last weekend! The Zukor Award is awarded to a film that brings positive attention to an underrepresented topic or group. Congratulations to the…

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This Is Not About Jordyn

By Communication First | Oct 6, 2021
Film poster with yellow background for This Is Not About Me documentary with images of a penguin, a small dog, and the upper body of a woman with a daisy super-imposed on her head. Bottom of the poster days "With the support of" and the logos for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, AssistiveWare, CommunicationFIRST, and Thinking Person's Guide to Autism

On October 13, 2021, CommunicationFIRST is excited to join with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, and AssistiveWare in celebrating the public release of This Is Not About Me, a documentary featuring one of our Board members, Jordyn Zimmerman. Although the film tells Jordyn’s story, it…

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Three CommunicationFIRST Board Members Testify Before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee

By Communication First | Oct 6, 2021
A photo of five witnesses wearing suits seated before a long wooden table with papers in front of them in a US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing room. One of the witnesses is Dr. Clarissa Kripke, wearing a red jacket. Four of the five witnesses are wearing masks. Four of the five witnesses are looking at the camera and appear to be smiling underneath their masks.

Clarissa Kripke with Senate Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Chair Senator Richard Blumenthal. Photo credit: Tauna Szymanski On September 28, 2021, three CommunicationFIRST Board members and four participants in our August 19 webinar on Guardianships and AAC Users submitted testimony for the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution’s hearing titled “Toxic…

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