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HomeGlobal NewsMan with Down Syndrome Struggling with Lockdown Receives 150 Letters From Around...

Man with Down Syndrome Struggling with Lockdown Receives 150 Letters From Around the Globe

A man from Ouyen, Victoria with Down syndrome, has been inundated with letters of support from well-wishers worldwide since his parents posted on Facebook that he was struggling with the coronavirus lockdown. 

Jonno Amos, who had just turned 30 when the virus started to spread throughout the state, suffers from a weak immune system and has had pneumonia several times, making it essential that he self-isolated. 

A naturally sociably man who valued his independence, Amos made the decision, along with his family, to move in with his parents and older sister during lockdown.

His mother, Ms. Amos said: “He had just celebrated his birthday with about 120 of his family and friends, so to go from that to suddenly being in one spot, he has really struggled with that.”

She went on to add: “Jonno is such a social butterfly and everyone in our community knows him, he loves going to the supermarket, he loves going to the bakery for a hot chocolate and having a talk with people, so that’s been the hardest part for him.”

Amos started to really struggle with being inside and not being able to talk to friends and other members of the local community, as well as finding out that his family’s annual camping trip was having to be cancelled. 

Mail delivery

He posted on Facebook: “I’m starting to get annoyed at being home now. I want to go camping and I want to go up the street. I want to talk to people like I do every day… it’s not always fun and games here. Sometimes I get angry and annoyed because my life has changed so much over the last two weeks and I don’t know why.”

Ms. Amos, who was worried about her son’s mental health, mentioned to a friend that he was having a particularly bad day, and they suggested she ask the local community to drop things in the letterbox for him.

She revealed: “The first night he got three letters and he woke up the next day and there was a few more, the next day he woke up to a fresh delivery of scones because a local lady knew that he loved to go to the bakery.”

Only a week later, as Ms. Amos’ Facebook post continued to be shared, Jonno started to receive letters from all over Australia and even from other countries, including the UK and America. 

Uplifted by the overwhelming response to his mother’s appeal, Jonno wrote on Facebook:

“I’m way too lucky… today is a very good day. I’m so thankful and would love people to remember all the others out there who would love a letter in their letterbox. Make someone’s day by sending them a note!”

Amos Profile Picture

Ms. Amos has revealed that he once received 26 letters in one day, as well as stickers, homemade word searches, camping equipment, fishing hooks, hats and t-shirts. 

She explained how much the letters mean to her son, saying: “He’s impressed with the amount of mail he’s gotten, he got one today from Perth and he knows you have to get on a plane to get there, he keeps telling me he’s a superstar. The joy on his face when he goes to the letterbox every day and he finds whatever he happens to receive is just priceless, it beings a light to our long days, like most people are expressing now.”

While the family is incredibly thankful for the support that Jonno has received, they are keen to raise awareness of the struggles that other people with learning disabilities are facing during this difficult time. 

Ms. Amos said: “We’re realistic, we’re not the only ones in this situation, there are so many people with intellectual disabilities or have people in their lives who are disadvantaged and isolated. Anything we can do to brighten their day; we will do it.”

Meanwhile, the UK government has recently announced that people with autism and learning difficulties will be allowed to exercise more than once a day during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The new rule states that people with specific health conditions who need to maintain their health will be able to leave their house “two or three times each day.”

It states: “If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally inline with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.”

A spokesman for the Cabinet Office reiterated that the most important action the public could take during the pandemic was to stay at home but added: “We understand that this will be more difficult for some, that is why we clarified the guidance regarding the needs of those with specific health conditions.”

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