Mover & Shaker of the Month: Casey Foreaker 

By: Paula Green 

        Cranberry Township resident Casey Foreaker is woman who believes in commitment. She was on the Jan. 11, 2016, cover of People magazine. Foreaker was featured for losing half of her body weight.  “My starting weight was 220 pounds; I was at Lane Bryant store trying on clothes, and I decided I was done being overweight. I walked into Weight Watchers and started my journey. I got down to a goal weight of 115 pounds! I still follow Weight Watchers today, and I exercise six days a week,” Foreaker said.  

      She is also very dedicated to her two boys—Dalton, 10 and Jayden, 7. Things are challenging for Foreaker and her husband, Bob, since Dalton has autism. “My exercise helps me mentally everyday deal with the challenges of having Dalton and the added stress of having a family and multiple children. I feel so much better mentally and physically after my daily workout,” Foreaker said. 

      “A day in our household is always something interesting.  Dalton has a list taped by his bed of his morning routine. I try to teach him life skills because one day I’m not going to be here anymore, and he needs to know how to do things. He makes his bed, brushes his teeth and gets dressed.  Somedays there is a lot of prompting with Dalton,” said Foreaker. 

       He attends school at the Watson Institute, and Foreaker is his aide on the bus.  “I ride the van with him every morning. In the evening when we have dinner together, it’s a struggle sometimes to get Dalton to sit at the table with us.  He has the same eating habits every night – chicken nuggets, fish sticks, grilled cheese and peanut butter and jelly. At the same time, I’m cooking for myself, Jayden and my husband. After dinner we play board games. Dalton loves lots of tickles, or sometimes he has mental breakdowns where he is kicking holes in walls or wants nothing to do with any of us. Those points I try to stay strong and let him have his space. He is on a medicine for his aggression, and it has been life-changing for Dalton. He’s happy again. I’m never going to change him from being autistic, but if I can make him happy in his world that is my goal. Bedtime, we brush teeth and read a book together,” she said. 

          Foreaker is also very devoted to her husband Bob.  “The relationship between us has come a long way. We go to a marriage counselor. We didn’t realize how important it was to make our relationship a priority with having children—especially one with special needs. We have date nights. He is my soulmate, and I wouldn’t want to do this journey with anyone else,” Foreaker said. 

           Foreaker has this advice for families of special needs children: “Get early intervention and start services as soon as you can.  Take time for yourself and take time out for your relationships. Don’t give up; have hope! Laugh more and smile more. Look at your special needs child and feel blessed at what you have been given. We have been picked for a reason to have these children with special needs.”