(Picture Courtesy: Pratibha Bhatnagar on Facebook)
Jaipur: Akshay Bhatnagar has many firsts to his name. The latest is becoming the first person with autism to get a job in the Rajasthan state secretariat.
The 28-year-old man has had to fight every step of the way and has come on top with the help of his adoring mother Pratibha. The other achievements that he can boast of are winning several sports competitions, being the first person to get a graduate degree from the University of Rajasthan and the first person with autism to pass the competitive exam that helped him secure a government job. He has also been awarded the Role Model award for people with disabilities multiple times by the Indian government.
Akshay started his new role as a grade-2 clerk in the secretariat in the last week of December. His mother said she will go to the office with him until he settles in. She is confident in his abilities to do the job. However, she feels it might be difficult for the people around him to understand his needs. She also recalls how he experienced a meltdown just fifteen days into his previous job because his colleagues there didn’t understand his mannerisms and thought he was not of sound mind.
This is, indeed, a proud moment for the Bhatnagar family who have had to continuously fight for ensuring Akshay’s various achievements. The fight started with getting him admitted into the school of their choice and escalated to court battles when the government itself was not aware of reservations in government jobs for people with autism as mandated by the Persons With Disabilities Act 2016.
Thirteen court cases later, Akshay was able to get himself a suitable government job. Despite the difficulties the family faced, Pratibha is happy that their fight has opened the doors for many other children with autism whose families would not have to go through similar hurdles.