The following article appeared in the May, 1997 Journal of the ACA.

Kentuckiana Children’s Center:
An Idea Before It's Time!

by Sharon Vallone
Assistant Administrator, Kentuckiana Children’s Center

What do chiropractic and Kentuckiana have in common besides helping individuals previously thought to be helpless? Making small miracles happen every day? Accomplishing what others never thought possible?

At their births, chiropractic and Kentuckiana both were ideas before their time. As we enter the age of managed care, we have only had a glimpse of an age that appreciates the efficacy, safety and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic care for a multitude of neuromusculoskeletal and visceral complaints. These include relieving pain and restoring function. Wellness care and improving the quality of life has long been the message of chiropractic. Consumers are only beginning to stir from their deep, pharmaceutically induced slumbers to begin to appreciate what chiropractic has to offer as a drug-free, surgery-free approach to health care today.

Just as the world of managed health-care and the public at large has yet to learn about chiropractic, so much of the chiropractic world has yet to learn about Kentuckiana.

Chiropractic's "Best Kept Secret"

It amazes me how often I speak to other chiropractors who have never heard of Kentuckiana.  Kentuckiana Children's Center was state chartered by Kentucky in 1955 as a private, non-profit, non-sectarian, charitable organization to provide direct services, free of charge, to physically and mentally challenged children ("special needs children") in need of health and special education opportunities.  Its founder and director, Lorraine M. Golden, DC, has been loving children at the center since it opened its doors in 1957 in Louisville, Ky.

Now for a little chiropractic trivia.

  • What was the first institution or agency to provide totally free chiropractic care for the financially indigent, challenged child?
  • Where was the first two-year intern program in pediatrics established for graduate DCs, as well as a school for chiropractic aides and assistants?
  • Where was chiropractic care first combined with a school for challenged or special needs children?
  • What was the first institution to utilize the services and care of professionals from all health fields (chiropractors, nurses, certified audiologists and speech therapists, optometrists, psychologists, social workers, osteopaths and educators), working under one roof for the benefit of the multi-challenged child?
  • What was the first chiropractic effort to receive its major financial support from public donations?

The answer to each of these questions is Kentuckiana.

Since its inception, Kentuckiana Children's Center has operated as an outpatient clinic, providing evaluation and treatment by a multidisciplinary staff, as well as a special education program for children with special needs. Both programs have been designed to serve the "whole" child and his or her individual needs. The program is designed to assist the child in developing at his or her own rate of speed, manifesting the use of innate abilities and the child's fullest potential to help him or her to be a productive and happy human being.

A majority of children at Kentuckiana are from low/moderate income families that are financially distressed by attempting to provide for their child's special needs. Kentuckiana Children's Center has never charged a child for the services or education it provides.

The entire operating budget of Kentuckiana has been provided for over 40 years by child-loving individuals, civic and religious groups, businesses, labor unions, employee funds, foundations, bequests, professionals, professional associations and auxiliaries, schools and the center's own auxiliary.

But the road has been long, and it is time for others to pick up the torch. The next generation must open its hearts and minds to the wealth of love, research and service that Kentuckiana provides to the public and the profession. We must lend our voices to the chorus and sing aloud the ballad of Kentuckiana.

I would like to take this opportunity to issue a challenge to every doctor of chiropractic --academics and practitioners-- to spend a moment thinking about what chiropractic has given to them and how easy it would be to give something back . . . a moment, an idea, a dollar or a prayer. Giving any of the above to Kentuckiana is giving to the past, present and future of chiropractic.

We have not even recognized this "idea before its time." We need our scholars to compile Kentuckiana's data and publish the multitude of case studies available. We need our practitioners to man the center's clinic. We need to continue to provide love and service to children with special needs just as Dr. Golden has done for over 40 years. We need our schools to work together to keep Kentuckiana open and to introduce many more facilities around the country.

We need to speak out for the children. Our professional integrity demands it, our future depends on it and our hearts can't help it! Please give back some of yourself. Your contributions, no matter how big or small, will never go unappreciated. The children need Kentuckiana . . . and so do we.

— Sharon Vallone, D.C., D.I.I.C.P.


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