Cole. Rest in Peaceful Power.

FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT.

GRIN AND BEAR IT.

SUCK IT UP.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?

These phrases have come up time and again over the last many years in conversations with my teenagers. The truth is that these phrases do not commonly come into my own mind. I don’t recall my parents using those phrases too often so I guess they weren’t drilled directly into my own psyche. Thank god! And anyone who really knows me knows that’s really not my gig at all. I don’t pretend to be anyone but myself. Almost 💯 at this point in my life. I am shameless and I own my life with pride.

Some people may not see me this way. That’s fine. I’m a person that some people might just call a hot mess. Yes. Others probably describe me as cold or sharp. Sometimes I am those things. And then there are some people who just call me authentic. It really depends on who is making the judgment call. I accept it all. I am who I am, as Popeye said. 💪🏼

The point is that our kids have plenty of influencers in their lives other than me and these well intended phrases got a little stuck in their psyche. They have received plenty of unsolicited advice over the years, as we all do. It’s difficult to filter it all, especially when we are young. And they know exactly who their mom is. They know I am tough as nails, kind of nuts, and am wholehearted. And I imagine that they may have thought all the things themselves about me. I guess I don’t really appear to be the norm in our circle. They know I don’t have my shit together all the time. But really…how can a person like me have all of my shit together? It’s not a simple life. Lots of moving parts. I think of it kind of like a freight train. The destination is always the key for me.

Destiny is all, as Uhtred says. I will keep praying and working hard to make peace. And I think you may be right, Cole. Peace may just be the devil’s aim. I’m coming to terms with the devils. Rest in All of Your Power, sweet boy. Now you are a real angel.

Cole Jackson Tucker ♥️⚕️🌻

4/30/2002-4/14/2022

https://feldmanmortuary.com/tribute/details/4452/Cole-Tucker/obituary.html

⚕️✌🏼♥️♾🌻✨🙏🏼

Deaf Gain Story💯

FEARS ARE EDUCATED INTO US, AND CAN, IF WE WISH, BE EDUCATED OUT.” KARL A. MENNINGER

Cole Jackson Tucker happy, hearing, and proud at Colorado’s annual Deaf and Hard of Hearing Field Day Event.

Evidently some words are for sale. Or at least a few I recently learned. “Deaf” “Deaf Education” “ASL” and “dDeaf”. WTAF?!✌🏼

Last night I watched the movie CODA for the third time. The familial conflicts and the hurt and distrustful feelings expressed throughout cut close to the bone. Really close. Every time I watch a movie or a show like CODA I can relate and I find myself longing to step inside their world to expand my own family’s world. This time when I watched CODA I tried to focus more closely on the brother’s character, the actual words, and the sibling rivalry and overall relationship.

CODA is getting a lot of attention. As it should. The actual lived experience of families like ours may seem exotic and scary to most people. We are quite naturally misplaced into a “standard Deaf” cultural box. Believe me I know. I have lived experience now raising a child born deaf so that means I have a deaf heart. The truth is that the question I dread is the one I am asked most frequently. “How do you sign _____?” I actually have a trauma response to this question. Please God (7SF1s) make it stop for the love of OZShalom and peace in our lifetime.

The truth is that I myself have been saddled with the responsibility of being a resource for all things deaf related for almost two decades now. Much like Ruby who is the CODA character in the film, this is because I am a ModYA in real life and it is quite apparently a commandment. I must do this job…or else. I suspect this label ModDYA that I’ve given myself will piss some people off. It’s unavoidable, so let’s see how that acronym flies out in the world. ModDYA = Mother of a Deaf Young Adult. Please understand that I am trying really hard (as I have been for several years) ONLY to relate my OWN experience and perspective, especially when it comes to the BIG D. I am only human. So here’s my take.

When I became a mother to a deaf baby I was automatically thrust into a no win situation. Damned if I do ____. Damned if I don’t ____. It’s been a horror show, quite frankly. AND I SAY FUCK THIS. 🖕🏼✌🏼⚕️The politics in the Deaf Elite/Mafia circle are FEARSOME and FEARFUL and FIERCE. The truth of the matter is that I feel very confident that I made SOLID decisions based on our family’s circumstances and the support and information I had at the time. The ONLY decision I now regret is the cochlear implantation at such a young age. It wasn’t necessary and I sincerely wish I would have been counseled to take more time to consider the cochlear implantation when my deaf baby was not even three years old. We could have been supported to commit fully to learning how to communicate more effectively and inclusively as a FAMILY. I needed much more counseling and personal experience before making that decision and I do regret that I didn’t have enough of those BUT looking back the professional recommendations and a PERVASIVE AUDIST world that overvalues hearing privelege heavily weighed against me and my deaf baby on that one decision. I can say now that at the time it really seemed like a no brainer. Now I know much more through my OWN lived experience. I can also say that my child who is now a deaf young adult has assured me and even thanked me for giving them all of the opportunities I could, including the cochlear implants (which I’ve had to fight medicaid like a laywer/mom for recently). All of that said, I wish now is that I would have waited on the implant. Waited until there was more information about my child’s development. I wish I would have trusted my own instinct to just stay the course and keep learning and using English and ASL and Cued Speech and written words and and and and. I’m a good mom. I am an inclusive person. These things I preach. In fact, I have been labeled EVANGELICAL about linguistic FREEDOM. I ACCEPT this. That feels true. Because I know that hearing is unnecessary. It’s the whole world’s FUCKED UP views that is the problem. That’s how I see things anyway.

Last night after watching CODA again I was recalling my own babies. One born deaf. Two who were not. My twins were learning ASL before we even knew we were in a dDeaf world. My kids were being raised almost singlehandedly by me. I was their first and full time teacher. When we weren’t making our usual rounds to storytime at the library or bookstore, swimming, playing at the playground and gardens, reading and singing, doing puzzles and traveling around with friends and family, we were watching Sesame Street, Blue’s Clues, and SIGNING TIME videos. Truth. I have frequently credited SIGNING TIME videos created by another mom just like me with not only teaching us some ASL, but with also inspiring my children to learn to read. By the time we got the dDeaf identity the twins were both already fingerspelling and using and making up their own signs with each other. And neither were speaking. And then when I began cueing fluently the whole world opened up wider because now they could both understand what their own mother was saying. At the same exact time. Naturally. Only one without access to the actual sound of my voice. Cueing came easily to me (THANKS TO THE MAX OZSHALOM) and I still think it’s brilliant. It’s also ingrained in our family culture. It is the way in which we communicate whether our deaf family member is present or absent. I think and dream in CUED SPEECH. Truth be told, I have raised three Cuers. Two who are native Cuers. One deaf. One not. Many of the people we know who are deaf are Cuers and signers. It’s our community. https://stuckinmybra.com/2021/07/12/its-called-cued-speech/

I’m in Houston, Texas today sitting down outside the central library at a public reflecting pool resting and gathering my thoughts. My twins are now nearly twenty years old and are separated and both far away from home right now. The truth is I am grieving their rough childhood and our damaged family life. The truth is I am disappointed in the world. The truth is I am disappointed in myself because I couldn’t keep them safe from life and that is my primary objective. To keep my children safe. I wish I would have known how hostile it would really be when I had my babies. I’m also not sure that it matters how much I knew. It only matters that people are hostile. That’s the problem.

Much gratitude to a sweet and spiritual man named Larry who sensed my pain and stopped to pray for me right as I was photographing this tree. I loved that. A perfect stranger stopping to focus his prayers on me. Now I am off to daycation by myself before I head back home to my youngest and my husband who I love dearly. I have a beautiful fractured but loveable little family.

My one last thought is that I hope that my kids love and care about and will be able to support each other to grow and stay connected in love. That’s what I saw on that screen watching the movie. CODA portrayed a rough life for a good little protective and isolated family. And I hope that film will change the world for the better. Tangibly. Not fleetingly. We certainly need it.

In Peace (1M3s)✌🏼⚕️Revolution.

All ways.

Lisa

ModDYA (People seem to love acronyms)

Jason Rudofsky, My Popular Husband🙌🏽

Today Rudy turns 52 and this is his year in review. It’s a birthday gift for my fool because I am proud of him.

Last year around this time Rudy stepped up and supported our mixed family and friends to organize Solid Ground Denver, which started out of sheer necessity to support a small group of DEAF and Disabled students who are 15-21 in order to continue their formal education and develop employment skills. This meant becoming a vendor of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s Division of a Vocational Rehabilitation. This proved to be a Herculean advocacy and paperwork effort in order to serve clients of this corrupt government agency. The learning curve was brutal BUT what has come out of it are solid community partnerships that have been valuable and are growing. (We are no longer doing business with DVR.)

Rudy and our little Solid Ground Denver Cued Speech and ASL volunteers together in Fairplay.

Rudy invested our family into a membership with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. He jumped right into leadership training to become a project leader and he co-led his first project last August on land owned by Mountain Area Land Trust in Fairplay. We worked together with one of our twins rebuilding public trails. https://www.voc.org/


Rudy led our Solid Ground Denver family to learn farming by joining up with an organization called Grow Local Colorado last spring. Under his direction and never ending supply of personal manpower, we have now turned our little homestead in Park Hill into a Grow Local Community urban farm. He even built us a chicken run so that we can eat fresh eggs! http://www.growlocalcolorado.org/


Last spring Rudy decided to embrace life with more optimism and joined Optimist International. He was immediately tapped for the position of President in a new club called the Joint Venture Virtual Optimist Club focused on supporting the children of Firefly Autism. Here’s the club website that just went live! https://www.jvvoc.com/ PLEASE DONATE AND JOIN!


Rudy jumped in to help friend, Chef Cliff Trubowitz, to startup his new restaurant called Turnover Darling in downtown Denver. He made all of those yummy turnovers, including my favorite “French” turnover. Yum!


Rudy journeyed inward last spring under the guidance of Bud Wilson with Deep Nature Journey. He led me and our twins in a three day solo camp in the Canyonlands of Utah. Not easy or comfortable, but very worthwhile. We grew ourselves and learned a lot together. https://deepnaturejourneys.com/

Rudy joined on as a cast member with a theater troupe called Spackle The Crack which is producing a new live show at the People’s theater in Aurora, Colorado. Come watch them in live action on April 30 and again in May! Tickets and info here. https://www.denver.org/event/spackle-the-crack/88582/

Rudy also did the regular old family guy stuff that only our little family witnesses. He seems most proud of replacing yet another garbage disposal, but I appreciate his true life partnership in one of my most turbulent and trying years. I am grateful for this man and I love this peacefool with all of my hearts. That’s just the truth.

❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🤎🖤🤍

Love and peace.

All Ways,

Lisa Rudofsky 🤟🏼✌🏼✨

We. The Parents Employed by the Colorado School System Work in a Hostile Work Environment.

Photo of me and one of my Colorado school kids, Cole Jackson Tucker. This photo of us was taken in Brooklyn, NY on his first birthday on April 30. 2003

Dear Governor Jared Polis,

https://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/highest-vote-getter-from-november-election-resigns-from-hayden-school-board/

“My ability to focus as a father on making sure that my son is safe and not being so angry with the administration, principal and the superintendent because of their lack of empathy and concern for his well-being,” Kleckler told Steamboat Pilot & Today on Tuesday, Feb. 8. “I felt like I could no longer be effective as a school board member without wanting to strangle the administration.”

How does this sit with you? Do you think there is something wrong here? Because I do. It isn’t safe for children to go to school and career educators like myself and these parents are being pushed to their limits.

How are we going to fix our schools without having to engage more lawyers and endanger more of our children’s lives? I know that’s been the way school business is done in Colorado and it’s WRONG. These are our children.

I’m still here ready to work for Colorado when you’re ready for me. I know we need the help.

Respectfully,
Lisa A. Weiss-Rudofsky J.D.
School Policy Expert

Colorado Department of Education, 2014-2019

Colorado Children With Serious Emotional Disabilities Need Facility Schools and Colorado is Pushing Ketamine Instead of Schooling.

Dear Jared Polis,

Please do check out this response from Children’s Hospital Colorado to the state of emergency for the children in our state of Colorado. Our mental health care system is killing children right now. Of course you know that already. I hope the new hospital mental health chief will be invited to pay some attention to the #facilityschools. Facility Schools are an important part of our public school system which is currently under reconstruction. We can fix this mess if you will wrestle it out of the hands of the mental health business executives. These school and medical businesses are vulnerable to corruption and being horribly neglected and underserved by the Colorado Department of Education. We need to focus on Facility Schools. That is what I do know.

To be clear, the public schools are where most of our children should be found. It’s called #childfind and is a glaring issue systemically in Colorado under the IDEA and has been for many years. In fact, all of the children under 21 who have not yet graduated from high school who are flooding the healthcare system and flowing out onto the streets in danger and unsheltered and overmedicated could and should easily be identified in need of special education under the IDEA under the category of Serious Emotional Disability. Why aren’t they? Here’s some info from a KGNU Community Radio with Rev. Dr. Jose Silva that touches on #childfind again.

And where is the EPSDT protection? I haven’t found that yet, but that’s where I am now focusing. It is obvious to me that Colorado still has a lot of pieces of important children’s rights related regulations that need to be put together here. They are all laying around waiting to be used properly. What’s it going to take? Who do you have on all of these violations against our children?

Please be in touch soon. I am out here in the community still helping children find what they need to survive, access school, and go on to lead productive lives in Colorado. I have been privately auditing the health care, school, and vocational rehabilitation systems for the last couple of years, so this is just my pro bono policy advice.🌻

In service of children, community and ✌🏼1m3s (peace),
Lisa A. Weiss-Rudofsky, J.D.
Solid Ground Denver ✌🏼 peace for kids movement
Colorado Department of Education, Senior Consultant, Dispute Resolution and Policy Specialist, 2014-2019

WellPower Is Sleeping With Colorado Medicaid

Photo taken by Shaia Loev in Jerusalem, August 2015

Dear Phil Weiser, Jared Polis and Colorado Access Board member Carl Clark MD and colleagues,

We would like to meet with you about how Colorado can devise a Corrective Action Plan to correct our failure to provide medically necessary services for children who are Medicaid members like we are.

Since August 2021 we have personally been researching the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) laws as we have been strenuously advocating for our own transition age children to receive a free appropriate public education, vocational rehabilitation, and access to medically necessary care in order to be able to survive and be able to attend school and work.

EPSDT is the child health component of Medicaid. Federal statutes and regulations state that children under age 21 who are enrolled in Medicaid are entitled to EPSDT benefits and that States must cover a broad array of preventive and treatment services. Unlike private insurance, EPSDT is designed to address problems early, ameliorate conditions, and intervene as early as possible.

We have discovered that Colorado Access does not have the processes in place to be able to comply with EPSDT and this must be rectified immediately. For Colorado children enrolled in Medicaid and entitled to EPSDT, the program is a vital source of coverage and a means to improve their health and well-being. Please be aware that where states have failed to implement EPSDT law, families have sometimes brought lawsuits in an effort to secure a remedy. We sincerely hope that we will not be forced to bring lawsuits for our own children due to Colorado’s non-compliance, but we are definitely being forced into that position right now by Colorado Access administrators’ actions and inactions.

Please be in touch at your earliest convenience. In the meantime, we will continue to pay out of pocket and use all of our family’s resources to ensure that our children’s medically necessary and education needs are met to the best of our ability. We are sincerely concerned about children and going broke protecting and advocating for our own. We have no choice. We have been unable to get your attention other than resorting to social media at this time. We hope you understand.

Respectfully and in service of our family, school, community, and 1m3s (Peace),
Lisa A. Weiss Rudofsky J.D. and Jason Rudofsky

Carl Clark’s Wellpower Empire

I took this photo of myself voicelessly whistling. Even though I am a whistleblower, I cannot actually whistle. My family can attest to this fact. The letter below is what we wrote today to Carl Clark, the current CEO of Mental Health Center of Denver as a follow up to a previous letter that I will also put here in my personal website where I get to write whatever I want.

Our suicidal children have not received good care, if any at all, as private and medicaid insurance paid patients of Mental Health Center of Denver and I want my friends to know. I want the whole world to know. That’s an understatement, but the truth is I’m trying to tone it down. That’s the directive I’ve gotten used to while working inside Colorado’s state education agency. And it’s also really upsetting to have to bare my soul and air my dirty laundry just to raise awareness. It’s sickening and maddening to realize that LinkedIn is a more effective way to get the attention of human service business owners and most of them are just out for themselves anyway. In the mental health business this seems to be the only way. Engaging willingly and advocating vigorously for your healthcare gets you tossed out or retaliated against or neglected. It also requires hiring lots of attorneys and wasting a lot of time, so this is what I wrote. Have a 1m3s PEACE full weekend ✌🏼✌🏼

Dear MHCD CEO Carl Clark MD ,

I can’t believe we have to keep writing you publicly, but it is clear to us that what our family has uncovered about your mental health business practice is true. Your staff that has been responsible for caring for our children told us that they did not know how to request prior authorization from Colorado Access Medicaid for different levels of care outside of Mental Health Center of Denver until we advocated for it. Now at least these few people who work for you do.

What is also clear is that your staff does not respect or understand the mental health issues for which their patients are seeking treatment. We do not believe this is limited to Deaf and hard of hearing patients or our children. This may be an MHCD policy and practice issue, but regardless it is a human services issue and a human rights issue. It’s wrong.

We hope to be able to work through your internal complaint/public relations process and obtain records more easily than obtaining the mental health services we still need. That was an impossibly long wait and a battle that we wouldn’t wish on any human being, especially a child! Our only regret is that we actually encouraged our children to give your mental health business another try. Lesson learned. Thankfully, not too late.

Answer this one question, please. What does “not really suicidal”mean? Is that a medical industry standard?

Respectfully,
Lisa and Jason Rudofsky

Parents

Colorado Suicide Crisis Stories

Dear Colorado Governor Jared Polis,

This Rocky Mountain PBS
video highlights two of our children who have so far survived unrelenting discrimination and retaliation against themselves by our public education system and many of the related Colorado human services agencies. I have a question for you. Do you really think that disabled children on medicaid should be required to hire lawyers to sue their school district or access their rights to vocational rehabilitation or healthcare? Because that is the reality of their situation and any other child like them in our state right now. I wish that was not the standard advice you and your government officials are giving to parents of children with disabilities, but I do know that it actually is. That’s wrong.

These children shared their suicide stories last year. It’s been a really tough year since their story aired. They have spent this last year of their childhood fighting through the awful red tape of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, which was supposed to be assisting them with their vocational rehabilitation, and Colorado’s Medicaid administrators, which is supposed to be providing them with the healthcare they require to recover from the trauma they have endured in public schools. Instead, these systems have hassled them and dropped them out, just like our public schools.

It makes me feel ashamed to be a Colorado citizen and it makes me feel sick for all of our children. I hope that our State of Colorado officials will start to do their jobs with some compassion and operate our Colorado systems with some ethics and humanity because they are hurting children. I knew that already as a consulting expert for your Colorado Department of Education, but it is far worse than I understood. I don’t believe that disabled children should all have to hire legal counsel to be able to go to school or work. I don’t think that parents should have to quit working to personally educate, rehabilitate, and advocate for their children themselves. Do you?

I hope you will watch their stories. You are responsible for them as much as I am. I hope we can get them the support they are entitled to receive right now. They need all of it and much more. These systems are crushing their young spirits.

https://www.rmpbs.org/blogs/lifelines/cole-and-mackenzies-story/

Sincerely angry,
Lisa A. Weiss-Rudofsky, J.D.
Colorado Parent, Educator, and Community Partner

this little girl is me

This little sweetie in the middle is me. I was born sensitive and strong and confident. I grew up in a good solid home with a family who loved me and cared for me well. I attended Denver Public Schools.

As a child I was known for being sweet, quiet and shy, but also curious and adventurous and tough, preferring to hang with the boys playing what they were playing. I was called a “tomboy”. I loved to read and write, roller skate, play tennis, soccer, swing, and swim.

Photograph of law and her brother, Danny (right) and her cousin, David (left). Southeast Denver, Colorado in the backyard, 1973

Denver Public Schools labeled me as a gifted learner and an advanced placement student, but when I was in high school I became bored with academics, preferring to focus on athletics and part time employment where I felt confident, was actively engaged, and learned skills from my experiences. I didn’t like school very much anymore, but I still loved to learn. I was always a dependable worker and a talented athlete. I had dreams of becoming an international tennis star, a published author, and a civil rights lawyer. I also struggled with disordered sleep, gastrointestinal issues, and some hypersensitivities.

At 18 I left my childhood home to pursue an undergraduate degree in journalism from University of Colorado Boulder. I became insecure about my writing abilities and study abilities and switched my major to match my subject matter interests. I focused on studying history and eventually determined to also become a school teacher. I focused on tennis while working at Boulder Country Club throughout college and quietly still aspired to attend law school in order to work in civil rights, which I eventually did. I was really a natural born peace maker.

I studied to become a paralegal first and earned a certificate at Denver Paralegal Institute. This gave me the confidence I needed to apply to law school. I graduated from New York Law School in 1999 and shocked even myself when I passed the New York bar exam with high scores. I had never felt confident as a traditional student, but I still went on to hold positions at prestigious places. I worked at the New York City Law Department where I argued in the court of Sonia Sotomayor, I worked at the the New York County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. I found that I enjoyed the law, but I wasn’t built to fight so I became a Mediator and focused on writing. For six years I served as a school law policy specialist and senior consultant for the Colorado Department of Education.

I realized as an adult that I am actually autistic, what it means to be gifted, that I can still play like a child, and that I am already a teacher and a writer and that I most love being a Mother. I have mothered three children.

Why am I sharing? Because research says that 70% of girls feel different about their futures after hearing from women role models. Thanks to Inspiring Girls International and Women’s Forum for the Economy & Society for asking us to inspire the next generation by sharing our stories.

P.S. The boy on the right is my brother Danny L. Weiss . The boy on the left is my cousin David Wilson Booth. Weren’t we all adorable in 1973?
✌🏼💌

Zaidy’s Family

Below was a letter that I helped my husband write on April 4, 2020 when he was emergency managing Zaidy’s, his family run restaurant. We were running around like chickens with our heads cut off delivering Passover seder meals too far and wide during the COVID pandemic. We had beautiful packages prepared by Top Shelf Baskets and amazing food prepared by our Top Chef friend and friends and family pitching in. Our goal was to bring both comfort and celebration to so many different people who were far outside of their comfort zone, including ourselves. It was incredibly stressful. Too stressful, to be perfectly honest, but we were proud that the family’s restaurant was able to spread some goodwill (and I was finally able to make truly good use of my great grandmother’s china plates.) Please don’t tell my mom I donated them for the cause. She’ll kill me.

I was really glad to be a part of this event and really proud of us all. That’s the truth. That’s danish.

✌🏼🤟🏽💌

“On behalf of the Zaidy’s family, I hope that you and those you love are doing well. We wish you dayenu. I think that the writer Melody Beattie explained dayenu so well when she wrote: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” I like that a lot. It is my deepest wish that the food we have prepared for you will comfort you and fill you up with joy.

We at Zaidy’s feel fortunate to still be able to do what we have been doing for 35 years. Feeding our community is why we are here. Zaidy’s has been rooted in our family recipes and creations and in tradition. We have been blessed to be there for life’s important events. We know a lot of people have grown up with our food. Our food is love and that is our purpose. We intend to remain a center point for the community.

We know that this is a unique time for all of us and, of course, Zaidy’s is no exception. We feel fortunate that our Zaidy’s family continues to grow. During the last few weeks we have welcomed in many new friends. We couldn’t do what we are doing now without opening our arms to one another. Our Zaidy’s family is diverse. We are chefs and bakers, artists, actors, and lawyers, community organizers, teachers, and fellow small business owners. What we all have in common is that we are a bunch of mensches. Everyone has pitched in to help so that we are able to bring Zaidy’s to your home this year. We have poured all of our energy and love into making this Passover special. We are throwing all the goodies in and the kitchen sink. We hope you love it!

Much love,

Jason Rudofsky and the whole Zaidy’s family”

https://forward.com/news/468877/in-denver-beloved-zaidys-deli-makes-a-comeback-this-time-with-avocado/

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