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!

CommunicationFIRST Asks White House to Improve Communication Equity

By Communication First | Aug 16, 2021
abstract, black and white photo of what may be triangles of wood

Last month, CommunicationFIRST responded to the White House Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Request for Information about how to make the US government’s policies and work more equitable.  Our comments include 12 recommendations.  The first three recommendations ask the government to begin counting people with speech-related disabilities, like it…

Read More

CommunicationFIRST Joins ACLU Amicus Brief in Britney Spears Conservatorship Case

By Communication First | Jul 13, 2021
stock photo image of the top of the outside of a building with the word "court" engraved in the marble

CommunicationFIRST is pleased to announce it has joined other civil and disability rights groups in filing a brief led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case. The amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) brief urges the judge presiding over Ms. Spears’ conservatorship to allow…

Read More

Guardianships for AAC Users? (Updated with Recordings)

By Communication First | Jul 11, 2021
Guardianships for AAC Users? Part 1 - July 13, 2021 3-4:30 ET CommunicationFIRST with headshots of Tim Jin (an Asian American appearing man with a shaved head), John McCarty (a white appearing man with short brown hair), Dana Lloyd (and African American appearing woman with black hair), Joan McCarty (a white appearing woman with short brown curly hair), and Morgan Whitlatch (a white appearing woman with long red curly hair), and Bob Williams (older white man with white hair smiling and wearing a red sweater and bowtie)

Guardianships and conservatorships are legal tools that are frequently used in the name of protecting people who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) instead of speech to be heard and understood. Britney Spears’ recent advocacy to end her conservatorship has brought to the public’s attention the downsides of conservatorships…

Read More

Speak Up for KASSA and Keep Our Kids Safe

By Communication First | Jul 9, 2021
black and white image of a child with straight, black, shoulder-length hair whose face is not visible behind their outstretched palms as if they are saying no with their hands

Silence can impact all of us: our relationships, learning, and employment. Yet being placed in a setting of forced silence or being denied access to communication has the harshest consequences for those of us unable to speak in a way that is intelligible to others. That is why it’s crucial…

Read More

“Why are you using a male voice?”

By Communication First | Jun 30, 2021
The phrase "There is no right voice!" typed in an AAC app on an iPhone. Background is rainbow colors for Pride Month. The CommunicationFIRST logo and "Pride with AAC" are at the bottom.

“Why are you using a male voice?” I’m sitting in the car next to a professor who is giving me a ride back to campus. I’m not sure what to type. The first question is, why am I using any voice? I normally prefer to have people read what I…

Read More

This Black History Month, It’s Time for Disability Justice

By Communication First | Feb 24, 2021
a young black woman with natural hair in cornrows sits smiling, looking at the camera, with her left elbow on a counter. Her face is lit by natural light from a window and she is earing a light top. In the background are people in the distance, apparently in a cafe or similar setting

It was 3:30 in the afternoon when I entered a SuperCuts near my university in Washington, DC, for what the second time in as many weeks. I would always go to the hair salon before an interview, and at the height of my search for a summer internship after my…

Read More

OCR MedStar Hospital Visitor Policy Complaint Resolved

By Communication First | Feb 16, 2021
artsy black and white stock photo looking upward at modernist concrete scaffolding on the outside of a building

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a resolution that applies to all MedStar Health Inc. (“MedStar Health”) care locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, MedStar Health has agreed to end its discriminatory treatment of patients with disabilities, including William King, a 73-year old man with communication-related disabilities, and to modify its policies to ensure patients with disabilities can access the in-person supports needed to communicate and have equal access to medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More

Statement: MUSIC Reinforces Dangerous Stereotypes, Practices

By Communication First | Feb 12, 2021
the word "listen" in all caps white text on a black background over the CommunicationFIRST logo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – CommunicationFIRST, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), and the Alliance Against Seclusion and Restraint (AASR) today condemned the Golden Globe-nominated movie MUSIC, directed by singer-songwriter Sia Furler. The film, released widely via video on-demand services today, contains a number of deeply disturbing and potentially harmful scenes.

Read More

GUEST ESSAY: Off Key from the Start, Sia’s Music Fails to Ring True for Nonspeaking Autistics

By Communication First | Feb 12, 2021
stylized stock photo of trumpets

I had to stop watching the movie because I found it too disturbing to continue to do so.

Read More