The Norman Transcript

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April 20, 2014

Couple with autistic children lead Thorn Bush Autism group

NORMAN — For Leah and Christian Eisenbeis raising two children with Autism is not only a challenge but it’s been a blessing, too.

Flora, 7, was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when she was only 3. For Henry, 4, the diagnosis wasn’t clear in the beginning because of some medical issues.

“It took a long time to put a name to it. Different doctors would always say, ‘Well, let’s wait and see and maybe when he gets to feeling better, he’ll catch up.’ After it (medical issues) had been resolved for over a year, there was nothing else to rule out,” Leah said.

For the Eisenbeis couple, dealing with two children with autism has been something they’ve embraced.

Christian, who is the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, and Leah decided about a year ago to form The Thorn Bush Autism support group. Meeting the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at Catering Creations, 3750 W. Main St., Suite 3C, The Thorn Bush Project is an open discussion time and Bible study for parents with autistic children.

Christian said he wanted to start the group as a way for his church to become connected to the community.

“There is no set agenda, but typically we talk about schools and how our children are doing in school. Our church is small, for now. It doesn’t have its own building. We wanted to be involved in the community, but we don’t have a lot of people or our own site. We thought, what can we offer the community that would be worth their while and something that would draw on our experience? We really had to look no farther than our daughter and our son,” Christian said.

About 10 families come to The Thorn Bush Project meetings, Christian said.

“Most families who come have multiple children on the spectrum, and if they are not on the spectrum, they will have development issues. It’s almost all boys,” Christian said.

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