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FUN song has Cranberry Township autistic boy singing like star

| Saturday, June 29, 2013, 10:29 p.m.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Casey Foreaker, her sons Dalton, 5, and Jayden, 3, and husband Bob pose for a portrait on Tuesday, June 25, 2013.
Heidi Murrin | Tribune-Review
Dalton Foreacker, 5, of Cranberry sings along with the band fun. while watching them on his television on Tuesday, June 25, 2013. The band invited him and his family to their concert in Pittsburgh after seeing him singing on Facebook.

Casey Foreaker says it's hard for her to get her 5-year-old son, Dalton, who is autistic, to answer simple, direct questions.

So she was especially shocked earlier this month when the boy sang a 4-minute song called “Some Nights” by the pop rock band FUN., who will perform at Stage AE on July 18.

“It's kind of surreal that he was able to do that. I have a child who cannot answer simple questions. He cannot tell me how his day was when I ask,” Foreaker said of her son, who sang the song at the talent show at the Hope Learning Center in Pine, which he attends.

Dalton's performance wound up on YouTube and was reposted on FUN.'s Facebook page, which is how Dalton Sim, the band's manager, comes into the picture.

“I saw it online. It caught my eye because we have the same name. I probably never would have looked at it otherwise,” said Sim, who works for Nettwerk Music Group in Boston.

Sim contacted Foreaker, who lives in Cranberry, and invited the family to attend the band's concert in Pittsburgh.

“They seem like such a cool band. It should be interesting to go to the concert. It should be fun to meet the band members,” Foreaker said.

Based in New York, FUN. won two Grammy awards last year — album of the year award for “Some Nights” and an award for best new artist.

Sim says he was captivated once he started watching Dalton's video.

“It just feels nice when music can reach people like that. Music of any type can be powerful and really impact people, like this young boy,” Sim said.

One reason Sim says he extended the invitation was because he knows how regimented life can become for the parents of children with autism.

“I know some families with autism. It's hard for people with autism. It's also hard for parents. Many parents of kids with autism feel they cannot even go out to dinner or to a movie. That's why we invited them,” Sim said.

Dalton was diagnosed with autism when he was 18 months old, said his father, Robert Foreaker.

“He does not have good communication skills. This song brings out a whole new child,” Robert Foreaker said.

Autism, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans, is increasing at a rate of 10 to 17 percent each year, according to the Bethesda, Md.-based Autism Society.

See Dalton singing “Some Nights” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9Gx5c0-36w.

Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at rwills@tribweb.com.

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