Northern Arizona University graduate students in Occupational Therapy (OT) have made the trip from their Phoenix campus every Wednesday during this semester to work with Ranchers at Rainbow Acres!

OT students at Rainbow

Amber, Caitlin, Chris, Lauren and Melissa – OT students from NAU Phoenix Campus

These five students have a plan ready to implement each week, using different ideas and tools to assist adults with developmental disabilities to learn new skills and practice familiar activities that make daily living more successful and enjoyable.

Director of Health and Wellness Chris Walker acts as the supervisor for these bright and engaging students during their study here, and says it has been a growing experience for her as well as for the students, and of great benefit to the Ranchers. This is the second year that the program has made Rainbow Acres an available option for the classes that usually take place in traditional assisted living environments.

Challenged adults make necklaces

L-R Amber, Stephanie, Elisabeth, OT student Amber and Debbie P make necklaces

This week, the OT Fair was a hit with Ranchers! Each was given 10 dollars of Monopoly money at the beginning of the class time. Booths were set up on tables around the room in the Daehler Building, offering options of treats for sale, activities to do, and games to play.

Ranchers could buy a snow cone, cupcake or popcorn with their money. They could play games and win prizes, or make more money by making necklaces that others bought. Budgeting skills, speaking clearly with “vendors”, and paying the correct amount of money were all goals. Ranchers could get their faces painted too!


Adults with cognitive challenges

Bill enjoys treats and a bright necklace

One woman Rancher put her money carefully in her Bible, which she always carries, and listened closely when the OT Fair was explained. She walked to each “booth” and studied the goods on sale, projects to be made and games available to be played. Then she walked back, took the bills out, and went to each table and purchased what she wanted, looking at the student “vendor” and speaking clearly to name her choice, as she was directed. This is a Rancher who very seldom makes eye contact or participates in verbal communication! What a special event!

Rainbow Acres is truly blessed by these students and their commitment to their own schooling and to our Ranchers!