By educating and showing families how to choose and/or make safe medicine, we hope to bring more people success when using these natural botanical therapies. When we first started on this journey ourselves, we noticed a lack of information regarding this sort of treatment option for autism. Relying on others, we were able to find success, but it took a lot of time and research. We hope to help others find their way to success without so many hurdles.
We are just two moms who happened to meet on social media at the beginning of our own journeys of treating our autistic children with cannabis. Realizing how hard it was to navigate all of the information about safer, alternative treatments, we decided to start holding local meetings to help families learn more and we once again turned to social media as a way to keep in touch with our new autism family members.
As word spread and more and more members joined our cyber support group from all over the world, we discovered how little information is readily available when it comes to treating autism with cannabis, so we started to focus even more on education, learning and teaching different methods of administration, communicating directly with families to look for usage patterns based on individual need and their ultimate success, and probably most importantly… just becoming a resource and community that they can count on.
We are proud to say we have the largest known virtual autism/cannabis community of this kind on social media! Two years later, Whole Plant Access for Autism became a non-profit, hoping to continue helping others on their own journeys and writing their own success stories.
Meet the Founders
Rhonda is the mother of 2 children, one of which is on the autism spectrum. Born and raised in California, she graduated valedictorian of her high school class and received a full scholarship to attend Cal State University, Long Beach. Graduating Magna Cum Laude with her BS in Biochemistry, Rhonda went on to attend UC, Irvine for her Ph.D. in Structural Biology. Three years into her Ph.D. program, Rhonda decided to put the Ph.D. program on hold as she joined the workforce as Quality Control Manager at a local environmental chemistry laboratory.
After working in the lab for 10 years, Rhonda decided to leave her position as QCM and work part-time in order to spend more time with her daughter who needed more support. When it came time to consider medicating her child, she knew that pharmaceuticals with their side effects were not going to be an option. So, she began to research alternative biomedical options and being in California, cannabis came up as a suggestion by another family. In January 2016, she got a recommendation from a doctor for her daughter and was amazed by the results.
Once she began to discuss using cannabis with other families, it became obvious that her background in science was an asset to helping others understand how this type of treatment can help where other’s hands were often tied. From there Whole Plant Access for Autism (WPA4A) was formed as a local support group. As WPA4A began to grow outside the local California area and began to require more time and monetary support, the 501(c)(3) was formed in order to better serve the community.
Jenni is the mother of three adult/teen sons on the Autism spectrum. She is originally from Wisconsin and now lives in Southern California. Jenni and her husband jumped at the chance to move to a medicinally-legal alternative botanical state in order to try the treatment on her middle son, Nate, who had an extremely difficult time managing severely aggressive and self-injurious behaviors with traditional pharmaceuticals.
This type of treatment was the only option left to try in the family’s pursuit to keep him safe and out of alternative placement. Thankfully it has been a huge success in not only reducing these behaviors almost to the point of complete elimination but in the total removal of psychotropic pharmaceuticals as well. At one point, Nate was taking 18 pills every single day, including extremely heavy doses of Benzodiazepines. Now he only uses a natural plant with far greater success and continues to happily reside in his family home. Jenni now helps other families write their own success stories with medicinal botanicals and specializes in helping those with extreme behaviors.
Jenni received her undergraduate degree from Southeast Missouri State University and her Master of Science in Nonprofit Administration from Louisiana State University – Shreveport. She hopes to apply her education and real-world experience as a parent who has spent decades searching for safe and effective treatment options for her own children, to help others on the same journey.
Meet the Directors
Director of Outreach
Sandy Christianson was born and raised in Southern California and is the mother of 2 children. Her oldest son Eddie was born with a seizure condition and later diagnosed with Autism. For the first 6-7 yrs of his life, Eddie’s condition began to slowly decline. His seizures began spiraling out of control and he was becoming increasingly violent and aggressive.
At one point in time, Eddie was taking over 8 different heavy pharmaceuticals a day. From AEDs to Benzos to mood stabilizers and nothing was making a positive impact. He was sick most of the time, unhappy and his seizures continued to increase. After years of trying to manage both his behavior and seizures with traditional pharmaceuticals, she and her husband were left with no other option but to try alternative botanical treatment. Thankfully they were introduced to WPA4A. After a good amount of research, a medical recommendation and a leap of faith, Eddies seizures have drastically reduced and his quality of life continues to improve. In addition, they have also been able to successfully reduce the number of pharmaceuticals he is taking a day.
After many years of a successful career in merchandising and retail management, she is now a stay at home mom devoted to helping her son continue the care he needs.
While Sandy continues to help her son, she hopes by sharing her own story with others she can inspire families looking for alternative solutions.
Director of Outreach
Jill is the mother of three adult children. Her son Alex is Autistic and was diagnosed with Tourette’s at 19.
In September 2017, after years of unsuccessful pharmaceutical interventions and with Alex in full crisis mode (ER visits, SIB’s and constant panic attacks) I discovered WPA4A. Like many parents, I arrived exhausted and panicked but determined to find a solution. The cannabis education I received here saved all of our lives. I started folding Cannabis into Alex’s life in late September 2017. The positive results were immediate. Panic attacks and tic storms were resolved in minutes, SIB episodes became less frequent and the joyful, independent person I knew my son to be, started to come back. By December of that year, we had weaned Alex off 90% of his prescribed pharmaceuticals, his Tourette’s was under control and we realized we had found a real, lasting solution. Today, Alex is thriving, our family is out of crisis mode and I have real hope for his future.
Jill lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband.