BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Students and staff at the newly re-named autism center, Merakey, played with balloons and bubbles to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day and the school's rebranding.
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Merakey, formerly known as Northwest Human Services or NHS, is now serving students with autism at the Shelley Hendrix Autism Center in Baton Rouge.
Shelley Hendrix Autism Center
9150 Bereford Drive
Merakey unveiled the new logo and name alongside a lot of laughter and learning on the playground. Students watched as staff members performed a scientific experiment by dropping Mentos candy into a blue soft drink, causing a fizzy reaction of soda spraying into the air. Blue is the official color for autism awareness.
The site, which opened in 2017, serves as the first Merakey Louisiana location dedicated to education and autism care for children and young adults. The Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Clinic includes a one-on-one setting of nurses to students.
Students with autism and/or intellectual disabilities up to age 21 can participate in the programs at the center. Students age 16 to 21 can sign-up for programs that help with transition life skills and preparing for employment.
A second location opening in Hammond currently has the capacity to take on 100 new students. Shelley Hendrix, founder of Shelly Hendrix Autism Center and Different Beat Consultants, says their goal is to open at least a dozen sites throughout the state of Louisiana.
Merakey currently has 9 other sites in Louisiana, with locations in the parishes of Baton Rouge, Caddo, Calcasieu, Lafayette, Lafourche, New Orleans, Rapides, and Tangipahoa – providing behavioral health services for adults and education and autism services for children.
The name Merakey is inspired by a modern Greek word meaning to put something of yourself into your work, or to do something with soul, creativity, or love.
For more information on Merakey, click here or call (225) 281-1894.