Most days after school you will find freshman Jonas Hetrick preparing the basketball court for the Oak Harbor High School Girls Varsity Basketball team. At a recent practice, Coach Tom Kontak relayed to me that three years ago they asked Jonas if he would like to help out and be the team manager and he responded in the way he normally does, by putting his head down and shaking it “yes”. Jonas takes his job as manager very seriously. “He places the equipment on the court, helps with daily warm-ups and anywhere he is needed,” said Coach Kontak. “He’s a great addition to our team.”
Jonas has the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome (AS), which is an autism spectrum disorder. Asperger’s is one of a distinct group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by social impairment, communication difficulties, and restrictive, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. His parents, Dave & Denise, convey that Jonas was Failure to Thrive at the age of one month, which meant that his weight or rate of weight gain was significantly lower than that of other children of similar age and gender. Around 6-12 months of age they noticed Jonas’ development was not progressing as it should, as he did not babble or attempt to form words, was very fussy and never slept. Jonas would start to catch up on his development to only be behind again. At that time they turned to the Ottawa County Board of Developmental Disabilities Early Intervention program to assist with his development.