Jane Holmes: It's sad we won't change people's aversion to dribblingBy Jane Holmes
June 13, 2012
Jane Holmes is chief executive of Wokingham-based charity Building for the Future which provides support and activities for disabled children.
She set up the charity after her daughter Kitty was born with severe cerebral palsy.
This week we have been on holiday. Bit of rain and wind, but lots of nice days where we could get out and about.
I'm not sure whether it's because we are in a new environment, or whether it's because my daughter is quite big now, but I've noticed a lot of people looking quite disgusted at her dribbling.
As a parent, you get completely used to it. Too used to it in fact, sometimes.
I find myself having to pull myself up when people come to the house, making sure I wipe more frequently.
My husband is worse, assuming there is nothing unsavoury about it whatsoever, finding those people who look away to be too precious for words.
But the fact is, it is not very nice.
It does put people off, particularly if they are eating at the same time and whilst all of our close friends just get on with it, easily wiping up dribble as they pour the wine and catch up on the news, we have to be aware that the average person just won't like it.
It's also one of the aspects of disability that puts other children off, which can be upsetting for my daughter.
There are medicines available which dry your mouth up so that there isn't the volume of saliva to dribble in the first place. They work, but according to my daughter they make you cough and your mouth feel funny.
Most of the time she doesn't want to take the tablet, only requesting it when she goes to Guides, presumably because she is worried about repulsing her mainstream friends.
Most people with cerebral palsy dribble. They often find it difficult to close their mouths and that, together with a lack of co-ordination and difficulty swallowing, can make it impossible to control.
Just like it's impossible for some people to walk, talk, eat or use their hands. It's one of the very few things that there seems to be a real, inbuilt aversion to and so still not accepted.
A sad case of take a pill, feel funny and cough, or put up with people wincing and looking away.