Right to Communicate


The Right to Communicate

For people without speech, talking is often dependent on the generosity of others, either in providing interpretation or facilitation or in giving up time to listen. While this is inevitable, there needs to be an irreducible right to make one's opinions known on issues concerning your future well-being.

At the moment social conversation and medical consent are equal in the sight of the law, both depending on the accidental availability of communication partners with the necessary skills and commitment.

There is no right to be heard.

There is no right to an interpreter.

There is no obligation to listen.

While social interactions are always dependent on the politeness and tolerance of individuals, it should be possible to legislate for a right to communicate in formal situations such as courts, hospitals and schools.

Without such legally enforceable rights,  people without speech will be at the mercy of decision-makers who can arbitrarily decide to disallow communication.

Anne McDonald



Anne McDonald Centre. 538 Dandenong Road, Caulfield 3162 Victoria, Australia Ph: 03 9509 6324, Fax: 03 9509 6321
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