Thanks to the generosity of our original donors, United for Communication Choice was able to reach its initial fundraising goal in just over two months last summer! These contributions made it possible for the UCC campaign to get off to a roaring start in fighting for communication rights! With this critical help, we accomplished the following in a very short period of time:
We organized a coalition of nearly two dozen national civil and disability rights organizations to express opposition to ASHA’s Board of Directors regarding flawed proposals on FC and RPM put forth by a rogue ad hoc committee;
We organized a letter writing campaign from individuals with disabilities and their allies to respond to the flawed proposed position statements on FC and RPM;
We built and launched a website (www.unitedforcommunicationchoice.org
) to help begin to shift the narrative regarding nonspeaking and unreliably speaking individuals and how they choose to communicate. This resource aims to begin to fill the void of unbiased, factual, easily accessible information about various augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) teaching methodologies. It describes why efforts to limit communication choice are flawed, provides information about relevant US laws, provides a compilation of summarized and curated research studies, shares videos of advanced AAC learners, and provides other resources to support communication access and choice for people with disabilities;
We created a complementary and supportive social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, attracting almost 1,500 likes in the first week!;
We organized and connected leaders within our diverse communities to create opportunities for dialogue and coalition building;
We began educating the general public on important issues surrounding communication choice; and
We ensured that ethical violations committed by researchers against non-speakers were not allowed to be swept under the rug.In spite of these significant steps forward, there is still much more work to be done.
We believe that individuals with disabilities who are unable to communicate reliably with speech must be given support and access to their preferred and most effective means of communication. We believe that access to effective communication is a fundamental human and civil right.
In the face of continued threats from ASHA and others who seek to silence those with complex communication needs, we are seeking to build our capacity to ensure that communication rights for people with disabilities will be protected and guaranteed.
We have formed a new national nonprofit organization to focus on protecting and advancing the civil rights of people with disabilities who are unable to communicate effectively with speech. With the help of past donors we were able to access legal, technical and business help to do this professionally and successfully.
We are now seeking funds to continue our momentum in building this new organization while our 501c3 application is pending. We plan to use these funds to help cover our expenses related to forming a business entity, which includes such things as the 501c3 application fees and initial licensing fees for a non profit. We also plan to utilize funds to access technology that will support access for non-speakers in our leadership.
We hope that you will help us reach our next goal through considering a personal contribution and/or by sharing the campaign with your personal networks. A generous donor has already committed to match the first $10,000 raised! Help us meet our fundraising goal of $25,000 to help us sustain our work and to help fund critical startup efforts! It takes all of us working together to bring about the change that we want to see in the world.
Thank you for your support and commitment to protect the civil rights of nonspeaking people!