The Norman Transcript

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April 20, 2014

Couple with autistic children lead Thorn Bush Autism group

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Most meetings allow parents to discuss the progress of their children, as well as any difficulties at school and with other family members.

“I think a sad thing has been the lack of support some people feel from their own families. I think that’s something that motivates us to offer this service. This is a welcoming family. In the absence of that support so many people seem to lack, you can find it here,” Christian said.

Christian said a lot of parents of autistic children want to apologize for their children’s behavior or they are worried what other people will think.

“We’ve been to groups where people talk about, “Should I hand someone a card that explains that my child has autism?’ ‘Should I have a scarlet ‘A’ dogged on the front of their shirt so that people will understand why they are acting the way they are?’ ‘Should I put my kid on a leash and, again, explain, sorry the kid has autism?’” Christian said.

The dream of The Thorn Bush Project is to be allowed a larger space that would include child care during the meetings. As of now, the group is strictly for parents.

As parents of autistic children, the Eisenbeis feel blessed that their church family has been so loving and supportive.

“They know that Flora is going to want to talk about some species of birds and flowers that they’ve never heard of until she shows them a picture. They know that Henry is going to try and tackle hug them. I think not every place would be accepting as they are,” Christian said.

The Thorn Bush Project name, Leah said, comes from a children’s book, “Mouse Soup,” by Arnold Lobel. The plot of the short story is that a mouse wakes up one day and a thorn bush is growing out of her favorite chair.

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