148 – Ruslan Vasyutin of Kiev, Ukraine Has A Daughter With Cerebral Palsy & Is An Outspoken Advocate For Special Needs
Our guest on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast is Ruslan Vasyutin, a native Ukrainian businessman who has a daughter with Cerebral Palsy. In his mission to provide support, Ruslan formed DCP Help, a country-wide NGO, to aid parents of kids with special needs. We’ll hear Ruslan’s life story and more on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast.
Check out DCP Help’s website: https://www.dcp-help.com/en
Find out about the Orange Penguin Foundation: https://www.orangepenguin.org/
Tom Couch: Special, thanks to horizon therapeutics for sponsoring today’s special father’s network, dad to dad podcast, working tirelessly to research, develop and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about horizon therapeutics mission at horizon therapeutics .com
also, please be sure to register for the May 15th 2021 special father’s network dads virtual conference, and meet and learn from some of the country’s most inspiring dads you can register for free. At 21st century dads.org.
Rusian Vasyuten: Another challenge was a great challenge was to feel comfortable taking my child with me on public, not being ashamed.
Uh, not, uh, uh, hiding, uh, the eyes, but to be proud, to smile, to talk to other people, uh, to involve my daughter in communication. I ready to share it with others because it’s a big challenge, a big problem for our parents in Ukraine. That’s our
Tom Couch: guests this week. Russlynn Vass Shujin Russlynn is a native Ukrainian businessman who has a daughter with cerebral palsy.
In his mission to provide support for parents, for kids with special needs, Russlynn formed D C P help to do justice. Help will hear us. Lynn’s life story and more on this special father’s network. Dad to dad podcast say hello to David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the dad to dad podcast, fathers, mentoring, fathers of children with special needs presented by the special
Tom Couch: father’s name.
The special father’s network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads, to find out more, go to 21st century dads.org.
David Hirsch: your dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com. And search dad to death.
Tom Couch: And now let’s hear this conversation between Russlynn vest Shujin and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with Russlynn the shootin of cave.
Ukraine who has a daughter with cerebral palsy and has had a successful career in the insurance industry is founder of master goal in executive coaching and training company. And is founder, uh, president of DCP help. A not-for-profit who’s mentioned is to provide comprehensive support to families with children, with cerebral palsy and other organic disorders of the nervous.
Russlyn thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for the special father’s network. It’s my pleasure. You and your wife, Olga have been married for nine years and of the proud parents of Alice eight, who has severe cerebral palsy and is unable to walk her claw. Well, let’s start with some background.
Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your.
Rusian Vasyuten: Uh, I was born in, there’s a part of you just the Southeast of Ukraine. It’s a big industrial city and legendary the motherland of and, uh, I’ve been grown up there for 17 years. After that I finished my secondary education and enter it high military academy.
And then I started my military career, but uh, spent only five years in the army. Then a REL lifted and started my psychological career already in independent Ukraine. My, my family was, uh, quite small. I was the only child in my family. I had mothering father and they were taking care of me carefully and very, uh, attentively.
They were dreaming of my great success. So they were trying to support me with the scientific and practical approaches with different ways of educating with sports, with music or with English and so on and so forth. So they gave me the first impulse to grow and to develop as a professional.
David Hirsch: So I’m sort of curious to know, how would you describe your relationship with your father?
Rusian Vasyuten: I would describe it as very close relationship. Uh, he was a very experienced and very authoritative man and I respected him very much. He wasn’t very intensive and even strict in brilliant me up. But, uh, I I’m saying, uh, to him for, uh, such approach, it was tough, but it was great because it gave me a lot of additional opportunities.
So way more friends besides with our relatives and, um, we’ve, we’re spending a lot of times. Reading books, uh, discussing different books and different stories. And we all spent a lot of time in, uh, hiking, not only with him together, but with my mom also, but he was a great authority.
David Hirsch: Excellent. Let’s see.
What did your dad do for a living?
Rusian Vasyuten: He was doing a lot of things because you know, at the edge of a Soviet and independent times, it was necessary for people to take care of their families. Uh, whatever, uh, activities. Uh, initially he was an engineer and, uh, he spent a lot of time being engineer and the technical enterprise, uh, later.
And he was one of the communist party leaders. She was the head of a local. Whatever a group of, um, people at his factory, uh, and, uh, he was very active, socially, so different types of work.
David Hirsch: And when you think about your dad, is there an important takeaway or takeaways? You’ve learned a lesson that you’re like, I want to do more of that.
I want to be more like my dad.
Rusian Vasyuten: So probably the main, uh, the main takeaways from our relationship are men needs to be strong to protect himself and his family. This is the first tool. Uh, another one man needs to be smart to earn money and to grow. Uh, one more thing, man, should be able to take care of. And of course men needs to be a father, not only just a man.
David Hirsch: So, uh, let’s talk a little bit about education because, um, you’ve had an extraordinary experience there and Ukraine as well as here in the U S and when you finished your formal studies, I was wondering, where did you think your career was going to take you?
Rusian Vasyuten: Uh, initially I was dreaming of becoming a military man, but, uh, I was disappointed later in this, uh, career path and decided to devote myself to, uh, psychology, but in the nineties, uh, psychology was giving.
A little money. So I was continuing to develop my scientific and practical career, but I had to work as a marketing manager and I was trying to combine my psychological background with marketing communications and succeeded in this. So I built my first stage of career in marketing communications. Uh, very soon they appeared in a insurance business, which was developing very fast that time.
Uh, so, uh, after passing the part of my career in, uh, marketing and communications, I became, uh, um, project manager and, uh, she is chief marketing officer of insurance
David Hirsch: company. You also have developed this business, this coaching business. And I’m wondering if that’s more recent or if that’s something you’ve been doing all along.
Rusian Vasyuten: All along. Yes. So I was dreaming of coming back closer to my psychological career, and I was hoping that sometime it will bring me not only self satisfaction, but income also. And, uh, I was developing it. I was practicing in a coaching and business training and I’ve got more. Degree in PhD. And I was trying to implement successfully implement these knowledge in my business activities.
And a few years ago, when I left my position of top manager of Austrian life insurance company, I decided to. Activate my career in business coaching. And so I’ve got a couple of certificates, official certificates and started my official official career in business coaching. I launched my website and I started advertising and so on and so forth.
David Hirsch: So I’m sort of curious, what has your experience in here in the us? Was it educational or was it work-related.
Rusian Vasyuten: To describe my experience in the United States. First of all, I liked it very much and I liked the country and they was impressed by a lot of positive moments. I was expecting some aggressiveness or arrogance and so one, but from the first days of my study, first I came to study in United States.
Uh, I found a lot of friends. And we were spending a lot of times together, frankly speaking, I even didn’t communicate to my Russian and Ukrainian friends a lot of time. So I was involved too very much in communication with Americans and they loved it. Uh, the openness of people I’ve really experienced a lot of friendly relationship with Americans and it was so open and sincere.
Uh, my American friends were always ready to support, uh, to understand, to listen and to, to share a lot of things. So in general, I had a very positive picture and depression of the United
David Hirsch: States switch gears. Uh, you and Olga have been married for nine years. And I’m wondering before Alice was born, did you or all go have any experience with the special needs
Rusian Vasyuten: community?
No, absolutely not. Uh, we didn’t have any experience with special needs community. Yes. Some experience with taking care of grand grandparents. So being present, be partially involved in this caring process, but nothing special. Well,
David Hirsch: what is Alice’s situation? And when was it diagnosed?
Rusian Vasyuten: Uh, we had, uh, um, a big problem during the process of birth and, um, trouble was evident from the very beginning.
Uh, some later, uh, the official diagnosis was defined. And, um, uh, we were informed that due to these problems with giving birth, I would go, our daughter will have some problems, as they said, during her education. And, uh, our neurologists were preparing us, uh, but I, I I’ve got the idea from the very beginning and we had a lot of researchers investigations and a one year old, verbal informed officially.
And we’re given the document that our daughter has cerebral palsy.
David Hirsch: Um, what were some of the concerns or fears that you had getting the diagnosis, having a
Rusian Vasyuten: confirmed, uh, you know, from the very beginning. Due to this difficult process of giving a life to our daughter. I started to love her from the very beginning.
So for me, it was impossible even to imagine to leave her in a birth house or somewhere else to get rid of her. Of course we were suggested to do that. Uh, it’s a traditional practice here. I don’t know about United States, but here it’s traditional practice and medical doctors are offering this option, but I was very strict and categoric about this, uh, Norway, uh, independently of your condition.
Uh, I loved her from the very beginning. I was taken care of here and I was going to bring.
David Hirsch: Well, um, what’s impressive wrestling is that, um, if the birdhouse is more tradition, well, they’re in Ukraine, which I understand is institutionalizing your child and sort of going on with your life and, you know, sort of not being involved, that you did something that is not traditional, that you may have meant that you’re going to love your child.
And you’re going to do the best that you can to raise her and provide her. As meaningful, alive. And while it might be going against the grain of what is typical there and Ukraine that it is, you know, whatever he fathers, which is for their child lead the best life that they can lead. And, you know, anything we can do to encourage more fathers to follow your footsteps, or, you know, do the same, I think is really, uh, And I’m sort of curious to know what are the important decisions that you and Olga made early on to support?
Rusian Vasyuten: First of all the greatest decision to my mind was, um, to stay together even after being into personal conflicts to stay together because we are parents and we are responsible for, uh, this girl, uh, not victimizing our interests, personal interests. No, of course. But finding compromises, finding common sense.
Uh, finding common goals. And, uh, I would, girl is, uh, uh, somebody to combine our efforts to, to combine our lives. Uh, another thing is to support each other in any situation, um, because yeah, I consider myself quite strong and my wife is considering herself quite strong. But we have, uh, from time to time, some situations when we are really weak and we need support and especially taking into account that our Ellis needs support and we need support in these situations.
So double support is needed. And the first resource of support of course, is, um, uh, ourself. So we try to find support. Ourselves. And then between each other, uh, with, uh, my wife, um, one more thing is, um, to accept that, uh, our child is our destiny and we are together and we can be happy and we should be happy that it is really possible not to suffer, uh, from that situation, but to, uh, build real habits.
Uh, one more thing. I would say this one of the biggest lessons, that health is a gift from God. The health is a greatest gift from God, and we should take care of health of our health and health of our relatives. And, uh, probably the resolving lesson is that life is too short to waste it on. Unfair stuff on avail, uh, unvaluable stuff.
We should value every minute, every moment of our life to devote it to each other, to enjoy communication, uh, to enjoy everyday
David Hirsch: words of wisdom. Thank you for sharing and not to focus on the negative, but I’m wondering what some of the bigger challenges for you and I’ll go ahead.
Rusian Vasyuten: Um, yeah, again, it’s a. Oh, it was, it was a great challenge to believe that happiness is possible in our situation for really possible.
Not in the illusion of happiness, not the image of happiness, but the real happiness is possible to enjoy, to smile, to laugh, to love and to enjoy everyday. Leaving. Another challenge was a great challenge, was to feel comfortable taking my child with me on public, not being ashamed. Uh, not, uh, uh, hiding, uh, the eyes, but to be proud, to smile, to talk to her, uh, to talk to other people, uh, to involve my daughter in communication.
Now I’m enjoying enjoying these process and I’m ready. I am ready to share it with others because it’s a big challenge, a big problem for our parents.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing. I think that, uh, the point you were making about being out in public and being comfortable is something that a lot of dads struggle with, which is it’s very awkward.
It can be very awkward because people stare, people say things and it can be very uncomfortable. And once you get over that hurdle, once you can get beyond that, you’ll say. This is our situation, right. You know, don’t judge us just, you know, allow us to be included except us. It takes a, a pretty strong person, you know, to be able to.
Sort of put themselves out there and you know, once you do it, you do it again and again and again, and it becomes a little bit easier, but at first it’s very difficult, right. To, you know, put yourself in an uncomfortable environment. But I think that’s where the learning takes place. Maybe you see them look in your coaching business because you have to get outside your comfort zone.
Right, because if you always avoid conflict or avoid problems, you’re never going to be able to resolve them. So I love what you’re doing on behalf of your daughter. So I’m wondering if there was a turning point or you can look back, you know, even though it’s only been eight years and identify things that are helped for you, uh, helped in your situation.
Rusian Vasyuten: Um, frankly speaking, uh, it was, um, hard time for me personally, uh, during the first year, as of early slide. And, uh, I had to combine my, uh, intensive, uh, career intensive care of my family and my daughter. So it was very hard psychologically even taking into account the diamond psychologies, but it was hard for me to do that.
So I, I applied to got, um, supporting course from psychotherapist. And, uh, it was successful. And, um, I think it was great decision not to suffer from this internal conflict, but to share it and to resolve it. And then another thing was another turning point was decision to start. Uh, this would be held activity.
I started to communicate to other people with the same challenges. I started to share our experience. I started to, um, consume others experienced to use it, uh, to have experiments. And, uh, I liked, uh, these step in my life.
David Hirsch: So I’m wondering. Ellis’ life has had on your marriage and on your extended family.
For that matter,
Rusian Vasyuten: when we were married, we didn’t expect such challenges to appear in front of us. So it was, I would say, quite a tough examination on a ultra reason, on a ability to love, uh, on humanism, the ability to care and share in our family. Uh, I was a little bit older than my, uh, wife. She was quite young when she married me.
So I had some more experience after army after my intensive, uh, life. And, uh, I was happy to share wisdom and Ruthie’s experience with her. And, uh, she, she accepted it and started to produce your own great experience in this direction. And how about
David Hirsch: the rest of your grandma?
Rusian Vasyuten: Um, yeah, was rural it’s Tony’s too with this fact in situation and we’re trying somehow to accept it because they loved us and they love us, but the real.
Impact was, uh, the opening of their ability to love and care at the highest level. Really love, not each other, but love, uh, other people love, uh, Ellis love us on a higher level of relationship.
David Hirsch: Excellent. So I’m wondering if there’s been any supporting organizations that have helped you or your family or Alice in particular.
Rusian Vasyuten: We have, uh, became a great friends and partners with orange, pink winning foundation in the United States. I found these great people, uh, occasionally in the internet and some of them are Russian speaking, but English was not a problem. Uh, they were. Just more understanding their specific city of problems here of local problems.
And we’ve just became friends. And then we became partners and these people from orange sprint wind foundation, they sent to me a lot of equipment and I was distributing these equipment here among, uh, people who needed it among children who need it. And before there’s a COVID situation, but we’re very active in corporation.
And now, uh, we, we wait till we will get out of this, uh, COVID problem to continue intensive, uh, interaction and cooperation.
David Hirsch: Well, we’ll be sure to include information about the orange penguin foundation in the show notes. So I’m wondering, um, beyond your own personal experience, uh, what is it that motivated you to create the DPC help and what does DPC stand for for that matter?
Rusian Vasyuten: The main motifs of creating this organization and to help others and especially other dads . To help them to act efficiently, to leave productively, to make their special children, families, happy to realize to understand that it is possible. And then to have tools and resources to provide this, to maintain these habits.
Of course, best practices and experience sharing. All of us have unique situations, unique problems, unique tasks, challenges, but we also have a lot of common stuff and of course we can and we should help each other while sharing these experiences successful and not successful experience to avoid problems to avoid mistakes.
To support them emotionally to support them, uh, informationally, uh, to support them spiritually and, um, just to be together. Uh, it, it makes sense in any times, even during the wars and, uh, uh, pandemic times. So that’s a great, uh, part of, uh, my intention, uh, or to, to create our organization and to develop it.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well, I love what you’re doing and your mission is very clear. And I’m wondering what’s your vision for this group of Ukraine dads? I
Rusian Vasyuten: decided to create some special debts community in Ukraine because first of all, we didn’t have it. Uh, special dads are very specific and very closed and passive.
Unfortunately, many of them are working hard, uh, 24 hours a day to support their families. Uh, we have stereotypes in our country that men should be closed. Men should be, um, not sharing his feelings. Just do it, his job, just protecting his family and being in motto. That’s it. So, uh, to, to open them, to, um, let them communicate.
That’s one of the challenges, unfortunately, traditionally, most of families and Ukraine with, uh, with special children, I mean, are without fathers. It’s a very bad tendency, but, uh, a lot of fathers leave families after getting the information about the diagnosis and about the problems, but still we have a lot of fathers who, uh, stay in the families and who love their children and support the children.
And they have a intention to share these knowledge, share this information. Yeah. But this is not so crucial and a tragic situation. Uh, we still have good examples. We still have a good father and, uh, they could share their experience and feelings and resources. And, um, finally, um, why would you like to create a powerful, useful, and valuable, uh, platform for productive communication and mutual support?
For fathers for special fathers and Ukraine. And I already fallen some people who are supporting my ideas, who are ready to share their, um, knowledge or the information they’re being, even the volunteers to support such organizations, such community at the beginning.
David Hirsch: Well, I think that getting others involved is important storytelling. Like we’re telling today, helping share your story and maybe you can help others tell their story as well. Ralph then, and I’m wondering from a program standpoint, what would you like to focus on? You know, if you could just pick one or two things, where do you want to focus your efforts?
Rusian Vasyuten: First of all to, to uniform father is about possibility about this opportunity that they are not alone, that we have a group. We have a community where they can be open, uh, when they can be sincere. And when. Can get a real support, a valuable support and not on the words and not just blah, blah, but real support, spiritual support, emotional support.
So, first of all, I would like to popularize these idea of being able to enjoy life, being a father of special child and not victimizing the life, not being a hard worker. And that’s it. And not sacrificing their, their life, but, uh, enjoying it, sharing this energy positive energy with a family and others.
So to let people believe to feel that that is possible based on examples, on good stories on the real face. On real names and real families. So, yeah. Well, I’m going to create a database to create a list of such fathers to combine them, to create a really interactive, uh, platform, uh, for the Fest, uh, information exchange.
For communicating for, uh, spending time together, uh, in different cities and, uh, of course, uh, and internationally to, to get good examples, to get good experiences and practices of achieving something already and to have a good orienteer, uh, for us, for a close and for the future.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well, I love what you’re doing, the passion you bring to it.
And I’m confident that with the program, you outlined that you’re going to have great success, maybe not straight line success, but, uh, you’ll engage others that are similarly minded and. With your efforts together, you’ll be able to accomplish so much more than you would individually. And the point you were making about not being alone and getting dads to communicate in an authentic way is really important.
And I’m wondering what important takeaways can you share with a dad, um, about raising a child with differences?
Rusian Vasyuten: Yes, of course I have a lot of things to share, but probably the main, yeah. Our health not to ignore psychotherapy and coaching, especially to fathers. Uh, one is to communicate with other similar families and not to be shy, not to be isolated, not to be ashamed, but to join this communication.
To share and to, uh, get, uh, the devices, the information, uh, the emotions, uh, and so on. And, uh, probably the main thing is to be proud of our special children and they achievements and even smallest the children’s, which are maybe not noticeable for others, but very important for us. Uh, for them, for our children and for us as parents and families.
So to be proud, really proud, uh, of our children.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing. I can paraphrase except at help, help her advice through therapy or coaching, make sure that you’re not alone. Don’t be isolated. So communicate with other families and then, you know, celebrate the victories, the small victories, not necessarily the big victories.
Yeah. You know, be proud of that. Right. And just accept what your reality is. I think those are just pearls of wisdom. So I’m sort of curious now, why is it that you’ve agreed to be a mentor father as part of the special fathers?
Rusian Vasyuten: Uh, first of all, I’m very happy to get to know you personally, your experience and your ideas.
I share them. I would like to be a part of this movement of these ideology. And, uh, I. Feel that I I’m able to provide something similar of hearing Ukraine and to be a part of such a great, um, community is, uh, uh, is very important for me. And I feel happy that we are communicating and you are accepting, um, my positions and my questions and my needs.
So, uh, Of course needs, uh, to network, to exchange information, experience, uh, support, and even just life energy with people. Uh, and, uh, of course I also would like to create a special system, not just the idea. The intention, mother special system of fathers, mutual support and Ukraine. And it’s something very specific.
Yeah. And it’s very new for Ukraine. Um, but I believe in it and believe that we need it very much. And of course we need the devices and the devices and support in building such community, such organization. Uh, and even now having all have no experience of such organization, I still want to share personal vision opinion and.
Uh, and I I’m sure that other fathers feeling green from Ukraine are also ready and want to share these attune. They achievements and experience with others who are going abroad. Of course, it’s very important to provide cross cultural development. So to me, it’s very important to let foreign people know our situation.
So let our people know the foreign situation to find similar things, to find contradictions, to find solutions. And to provide these solutions here in Ukraine and, you know, I just the need to, to help people in hard situations related to special children. I enjoy it. I feel good when I help. Uh, so I find it quite developing and I’m proud that I’m doing this.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, we’re thrilled to have you. Thank you for being. I’m wondering if there’s anything else you’d like to say what, before we wrap up?
Rusian Vasyuten: Yes. Uh, first of all, thank you. Uh, thank you for, uh, support. Thank you for attention and trying to, uh, build a international cooperation, but it’s, it, it appeared to be very, um, complicated and I do not have a lot of responses from.
Uh, abroad. I don’t know the reason, but I’m trying to knock up the doors and I’m trying to attract attention, but I’m happy that you respond to me and we are, we are communicating. Uh, I would like to say that, uh, probably all of us, uh, all around the world, we have the same challenges. We have the same problems.
And do we have the same opportunity? And would like to be all other fathers of, uh, special children, uh, the success, the joy of life, and, uh, had a family.
David Hirsch: Well, thank you. Somebody wants to learn more about DCP help master goal, or just to contact you. What’s the best way to do that restaurant.
Rusian Vasyuten: Uh, the best way is to use LinkedIn, uh, with the same names, uh, my name Russo lumber, Suchin, or master goal, or DCP help.
Uh, Facebook. Also, I am very active in these, uh, network. Uh, I’m I’m starting, uh, to be active in, uh, on Instagram and in general, in internet, we have a websites on master goal and, uh, disappear, help. So welcome everybody. And, uh, I, I will be happy to communicate to people on these networks.
David Hirsch: As a reminder, ads is part of the special father’s network drink program for fathers raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father or are seeking advice from a mentor, a father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21st century dad.org. Thank you for listening to the episode of this pod network yet a dad I’ll chat.
I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I. As you probably know, the 21st century dad’s foundation has a 5 0 1 C3, not for profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content for you to all concerned. Would you please consider making a tech clinical contribution? I would really appreciate your support.
Russlynn thanks. Thank
Rusian Vasyuten: you. It was my pleasure.
Tom Couch: And thank you, you for listening to the dad, to dad podcast presented by the special fathers network. The special father’s network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process.
New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers, go to 21st century dads.org. And
David Hirsch: if you’re a dad looking for help or we’d like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group.
Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad to dad also, please be sure to register for the special father’s network biweekly zoom calls held on the first and third Tuesdays. Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story or know of a compelling story, please send an email to David.
At 21st century dads,
Tom Couch: the dad to dad podcast was produced by couch audio for the special father’s network. Thanks again to horizon therapeutics who believe that science and compassion must work together to transform lives. That’s why they work tirelessly to research, develop and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases.
Discover more about horizon therapeutics at horizon therapeutics.com