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!

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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CommunicationFIRST Joins Federal Lawsuit Against Illegal Restraint and Seclusion

By Communication First | Oct 8, 2019
image of US Supreme Court

Washington, DC – A lawsuit filed today alleges that students with disabilities in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) experience unjustified discrimination, psychological trauma, and physical harm from the widespread and improper use of restraint and seclusion.

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Making Communication a Reality for All

By Communication First | Oct 2, 2019
wood plank hand-carved with capital letters A-Z and numbers

We can and must advocate together for the human and civil right to effective communication for all children and adults, regardless of condition, disability, and support need. Here is why I believe this is CommunicationFIRST’s urgent, essential duty.

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