DAVIS (CBS13) — UC Davis is launching a new four-year residential college program for students with intellectual disabilities.

The Supported Education to Elevate Diversity (SEED) Scholar program will be for students with autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injury and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. The program will be the first of its kind in California.

Its co-director, Beth Foraker, has a son with Down syndrome who was going through a similar program at a university in Virginia. Her son’s program inspired her to start one at UC Davis.

“I, of course, was very emotional and thrilled for my son, but I would fly home to California and be devastated cause I would just think of all these kids here who had nothing,” Foraker said. 

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The program will start with 12 students in the fall of 2021 and expand each year. It will offer classes tailored to its students and access to other UC Davis classes as well.

They also plan to include an internship component with placements at UC Davis Health, on campus, and in legislative offices at the State Capitol.

The goal is to create a model that will be used by other universities across the state.

UC Davis’s MIND Institute and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion received a five-year $2.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create the program.