When the Government made the decision to focus more on early intervention for children with disabilities, it was bold and uncompromising.
This blog today, the second in the ‘Why I Can’t Keep Quiet’ series, will take a look at my thoughts on the disability sector and where we are at the moment.
A lot of people would look at me and think that I am an upstart little shit with no sense of control or thought into the claims I make.
Some might say I am too confident for my own good, or that I am arrogant and possess an ego that is too big to be a credible advocate for people with disabilities. For all the theories and all the claims, do I even know what the hell I am talking about?
The true answer is no, probably not, I am learning as I go.
I love the disability sector and I am very passionate about improving the services that are currently on offer. It may not be popular to say, but things can always be improved. We should never settle for the status quo.
But back to me for a second, because (as you know), I am a guy that wears his heart on his sleeve.
Like everyone else, Mike Pulman has a long and complicated past.
There have been many things that have led to me having the attitude that I do today. Many good things, many bad things, and more than a few mistakes made in between.
By no means am I the ‘model citizen’, my past is full of moments where I look back and wish I had done things differently. I am impulsive and I let my ‘gut feeling’ influence a lot of the decisions that I make.
It is not up to me to decide what or how people should think of me.
Of course, I’ll always try to convince them that I am worth their time of day, but ultimately, they will make that decision on their own.
I’d like to think that I am a realest, and my ‘gut feeling’ has never let me down.
Face facts people, the world is full of people who are all the centre of their own universe. Their opinion is the right one, and they are more justified than you are.
At least, they’d like to think so.
What matters is how you deal with all that. Do you want to argue against absolutely everybody and everything?
If you want to see change, be the change and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. You’ll always have to work with someone to achieve a greater outcome, but you are in control of your success, no one else has the right to take any credit for that.
To be truly great, you have to be imperfect. You can be really good at one thing, but there will always be another thing that you are useless at.
It all comes down to what you believe in yourself.
There are too many people with their own agenda, and that is why the disability sector is in the state it is today.
There is no clear way forward at all. At least, I don’t see one.
I believe in my heart of hearts someone needs to be brave enough to ‘take the ball and run with it’. There is so much discussion and this outweighs the actual action.
To make a better society for people with disabilities we need to be bold, but we also need to allow ourselves to potentially make mistakes. There is too much fear of mistake, too much thought about image, and way too much investment on playing nicely with Government.
The fact is, the Government have fallen well short on truly making New Zealand a more accessible society, both in terms of access and inclusion.
Yes, early intervention for a child with a disability is a great platform to launch off. But how can we possibly do this at the expense of children and teenagers in schools? We can’t, I’d rather work with the same amount of funding but have it on an equal level across the board.
Those who think that a child with a disability may require less support if they get help early are entitled to their opinion, but in my view, they are wrong.
It’s all too easy to sit back and say that the Government should invest more money into the disability sector. We all know that would make things easier, but the Government has been clear in the fact that there will not be any rise in funds. We’ve got to make do with what we have.
At least the Government has been bold and made a clear cut decision. The same cannot be said for many of us working in the sector.