Dynamic Chiropractic – December 17, 2007, Vol. 25, Issue 26

Kentuckiana: Looking Toward the Future

By Sharon A. Vallone, DC, FICCP, and Jean Elizabeth Grabowski

Over the past five decades, there has been much controversy in the media about chiropractic care for children, and yet Kentuckiana Children's Center (KCC) has stood firm and sure in the vision and mission established by our founder, Dr.

Lorraine M. Golden, in 1957 - a true testament to the extraordinary commitment of the chiropractic profession.

With each passing day, month and year, we at the Center, as it has become known, grow more confident in the vision Dr. Golden had 50 years ago. Skyrocketing health care costs can keep the invaluable modality of chiropractic from many families, and yet at Kentuckiana Children's Center, no family is turned away because of an inability to pay.

Over the past five decades, the client base has changed with the times. In the 1950s and 1960s, polio and its effects were the foremost concerns of the doctors treating the children of Kentuckiana Children's Center. From the 1960s to the 1980s, physical and mental challenges were at their peak with our children. In 1964, Dr. Golden began a school for special-needs children to fill the void of educational opportunity, along with the social interaction that is a byproduct of all school environments and that each child deserves to experience. The school closed in May 1998.

Dr. Golden's death later in the same year could have been the end of her vision. After the founder of any business organization passes, there is a time of reorganizing and analyzing that leads to the next strategic planning phase, which includes the options of closing or continuing. KCC began as a children's not-for-profit outpatient health care clinic, not as an individual practice, and the leadership of the board and staff has continued the legacy left to them.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark With roots deep in the foundation of chiropractic care, chapter one at KCC ended in 1998; the second chapter began with the Center's move to its current location in December 1999. Today, we continue the second chapter, with our focus always on the child. This second chapter is different in many ways and yet at the core, we remain the same. The Center's outpatient clinic is composed of one chiropractor, Rebekah Wittman, DC, who leads a treatment team consisting of an occupational therapist, a CranioSacral therapist, a registered licensed dietitian, and a licensed clinical social worker, all of whom serve more than 250 active cases. Today, 95 percent of our client base is children with autism spectrum and associated disorders (ASAD). The 5 percent balance includes asthma/allergies, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, and other neurological diagnoses. Currently one in 150 children is diagnosed with ASAD neurological brain disorders, which affect the child's behavioral, social and communication development.

The current childhood epidemic of ASAD is present in the children we treat. As the causes of ASAD continue to be debated, we at the Center are creating treatment plans for each child that address their set of full-spectrum challenges - neurobiological, social, emotional, sensory, and nutritional. Our chiropractic foundation of care is what makes Kentuckiana Children's Center unique.

How do ASAD rates compare with rates of other disabilities and diseases diagnosed in children? Down syndrome, the most commonly identified cause of mental retardation, occurs in about one in 800 births.1 Juvenile diabetes, a common childhood disorder, occurs in about one in 400-500 children and adolescents,2 which is similar to the lower range of the ASAD rates of one in 500. However, ASADs are more common than childhood cancer, which has a prevalence rate of 1.5 per 10,000 children, according to the National Cancer Institute.3

One person, Dr. Lorraine Golden, began to make a difference in the lives of special-needs children in 1957 and enlisted the financial assistance of the chiropractic community and like-minded individuals. At that time, families were forced to consider putting their children in an institution because of financial concerns. We face the same circumstances in 2007 with our current client base; families may have to consider giving up their parental rights so their children can receive the health care they need. The face of KCC continues to be the children we serve.

The next chapter has yet to be written. We feel confident that whatever pediatric epidemic or health concern arrives in the coming years, we will be here to serve special-needs children through the foundation of chiropractic care.

Future plans include adding two part-time chiropractors, one for the purpose of research development and the other to assist Dr. Wittman with treatment of the children. Despite further development of treatment programs and services that complement our mission, chiropractic education will continue to be at the forefront of all treatment programs and services. Dr. Wittman provides assistance, as her time allows, to many chiropractors nationally seeking advice and treatment options for the children they see with special needs.

Fund-raising efforts continue through the year. We have an annual golf event and are working on an annual newsletter. Other fund-raising activities include chiropractic practices donating funds from fund-raisers in their offices, from missed appointments and even from the sale of products. Others choose a fixed monthly donation of $10 - $100, or biannual donations of $500. As the end of the year approaches, please join the Kentuckiana Children's Center family with your tax-deductible donation today.

We encourage lifelong support of KCC as it continues the mission and vision as outlined by our founder, Dr. Lorraine M. Golden. Please remember KCC in your will. Mail tax-deductible contributions to:

Kentuckiana Children's Center
Attn: Golden Children's Fund
1810 Brownsboro Road
Louisville, KY 40206

For more information, visit www.kentuckiana.org.


  1. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Key Findings from Recent Birth Defects and Pediatric Genetics Branch Projects. [cited 2006 Nov]. Available at: www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/bd/ds.htm.
  2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. National Diabetes Fact Sheet. [cited 2006 Nov]. Available at: www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/estimates.htm#prev2.
  3. Gloeker Ries LA, Percy CL, Bunin GR. Cancer Incidence and Survival among Children and Adolescents: United States SEER Program 1975-1995. National Cancer Institute. [cited 2005 Jan 21]. Available at: http://seer.cancer.gov/publications/childhood.


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