Center for Special Children

Jim DeLine, MD at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve from Vernon Memorial Healthcare on Vimeo.

The La Farge Medical Clinic is home to The Center for Special Children, one of six clinics in the United States dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of children born with genetic and metabolic diseases.


While the genetic research done at the clinic benefits the entire population, most of the afflicted children come from regional Amish and Mennonite communities. The most common diseases seen here are Maple Syrup Urine Disease, Proprionic Acidemia and Phenylketonuria, but more than 30 known conditions exist to some extent in this area. The genetic advancements in both diagnosis and treatment plans made by Dr. Jim DeLine are constantly evolving. The work they are doing with Sitosterolemia is the most current of any clinic. Scientific study has made the clinic an outstanding medical resource, but the significant personal relationships developed between the doctors and the Plain community cannot be underestimated when looking at what the clinic has accomplished since it opened in 2015.

The Ralph Nuzum Lecture Series is a regular event at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve in LaFarge, Wisconsin.

Want to learn more? Contact the La Farge Medical Clinic, operated by Vernon Memorial Healthcare, by calling Greg Lawton, Clinic Coordinator at (608) 625-2494.

The La Farge Medical Clinic has developed a genetic testing program that is aimed at improving the lives of local children and families. The Center for Special Children, housed within the La Farge Medical Clinic, offers low-cost genetic testing and care for patients with rare genetic and metabolic disorders.

The hope is to help those families affected by complex medical needs with affordable health care, while also building an expansive catalog of diseases that will improve diagnosis and treatment in the future.

The program will be offered in addition to regular primary care services at the La Farge Medical Clinic. 

Organic Valley has agreed to provide $50,000 a year for three years to the Center for Special Children.Organic Valley has agreed to provide $50,000 a year for three years to the Center for Special Children.


The Center for Special Children operates as a non-profit organization governed by a board of directors. Funding for the program comes partly from patient charges, but much of it comes from the community. Proceeds from community-sponsored benefit auctions and private donations and grants are crucial in helping the Center for Special Children offer affordable health care to those families that qualify. We hope to ensure that no families are turned away or sent to collections for the inability to pay their medical bills.

If you would like to help the Center for Special Children fulfill its mission, please contact Greg Lawton, Clinic Coordinator at the La Farge Medical Clinic-VMH, at (608) 625-2494.

Media Coverage

April 22, 2015 - La Crosse Tribune/Vernon Broadcaster - La Farge Clinic Tailored to Revolutionize Treatments for Amish

April 22, 2015 - WXOW News 19 - Genetic Testing Program Helps Amish in Vernon County

April 15, 2015 - La Crosse Tribune - Organic Valley Donates to La Farge Clinic's Genetic Program

April 1, 2015 - La Crosse Tribune - La Farge Medical Clinic to Offer Genetic Program for Patients


Newborn Screening and Genetic Testing

At the Center for Special Children, we care for children with genetic disorders. Some of these inherited genetics conditions are identified on the newborn screen, which tests baby’s blood, heart and hearing on the first day of life. Some conditions are identified through testing of specific genes, if a certain condition is suspected.

WI State Lab of Hygeine

Univ Wisconsin Cytogenetics

Das Deutsch Clinic Lab    


Educational Events

In effort to learn more about the conditions within our community, we are co-hosting a conference for medical and educational providers that work with the Amish and Mennonite community in Wisconsin.

Practical Approaches to Inherited Disease in the Plain Communities in Wisconsin. Event Website Downloads


The conference was supported by the following organizations:

Univ Wisconsin Pediatrics

Univ Wisconsin Waisman Center

Windows of Hope Project – Univ of Exeter

Wisconsin Partnership Program

WI Guild of Midwives


The Center for Special Children is one of six clinics in the country which care for special children, primarily in the Amish and Mennonite communities. The clinics utilize genetic testing to identify and treat rare conditions. All clinics operate as non-profits and receive guidance from the communities that they serve.

Clinic for Special Children

Das Deutsch Clinic

New Leaf Clinic

Community Health Clinic

Central Pennsylvania Clinic

For additional information about genetics and the inheritance of disorders, review the following websites:

Gene Reviews

Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man

National Organization of Rare Diseases

Windows of Hope Database of Disorders

Amish, Mennonite and Hutterite Genetic Disorder Database


General Information on the Amish

The Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College