Alix Generous leaning on a dark brown door.

Alix Generous: Neurodiversity Advocate

Apr 27, 2022

by Angela Parker, PhD

Alix Generous posits herself as a behavior analyst, DEI consultant, and professional speaker. She also happens to be autistic.

This young consultant uses her skills and expertise in a broad array of ways. As a DEI specialist, she helps companies foster workforce inclusivity by hiring neurodiverse people. Using her behavior science background, she assists companies in their efforts to enhance employee performance. Praised as an earnest and motivating speaker, she shares her knowledge about neurodiversity and autism at conferences and institutions around the world. She is self-employed and manages several contracts with different companies, eager to take on new challenges as projects come up. Her particular specialties are autism hiring and employee-retention strategies.

As a child, Generous was passionate about molecular biology and neuroscience. She placed first in a nationwide competition in 2012, when she was just nineteen, for her research on quorum sensing and coral reefs. Quorum sensing includes the ability to detect and respond to cell-population density through gene regulation, and her project showed how this ability relates to the health of coral reefs. Her publication, “Environmental Threats on the Symbiotic Relationship of Coral Reefs and Quorum Sensing,” was published in Consilience.

In 2013, Generous got to work with SustainUS, a youth environmental sustainability organization, and she describes the experience as amazing. Her work with SustainUS led her to becoming a youth delegate for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP19). She recommends SustainUS as a wonderful training ground for young people interested in the intersection between national and international politics.

During her time with the nonprofit, Generous was able to help negotiate technology transfers and issues of medical importance, while assisting neuroscience researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina, Tufts University School of Medicine, and the University of Vermont.

More recently, she completed a master’s degree in behavioral psychology at Pepperdine University and is now a board-certified behavior analyst.

Generous has become a successful working professional, behavior analyst, and private business adviser. She is a script consultant for the TV show Everything’s Gonna Be Okay, a series about siblings coping with the untimely death of their father. She has consulted with companies — like Neurotalent Works in Secaucus, New Jersey — that provide training and employment for people with autism spectrum disorders. She also offers DEI expertise as part of a team of consultants and speakers at Diversity Crew, a consortium that focuses on equity work.

A collage of four pictures of Alix Generous making the same expression for "happy" "sad" and "angry." She's smiling intensely in the fourth picture that says "Trying to be normal."

In talking about her personal challenges, Generous explains that her impediments include impaired social skills and communication abilities. She also has horrendous social anxiety and her interactions have been particularly limited by the pandemic. She does try consciously to step out of her comfort zone when it comes to interacting with other people.

Generous was misdiagnosed for several years before the revelation that she was “actually autistic.” Her misdiagnoses as a pre-teen led to treatments that she describes as horrendous. Those experiences led her to becoming an advocate against institutional abuse and for ethical care of minors with mental health concerns.

Generous was misdiagnosed for several years before the revelation that she was “actually autistic.”

She ultimately hopes to establish a foundation focusing on the prevention of violence against autistic individuals, a significant problem faced by many people on the spectrum. She has researched the crime of autism filicide — the murder of children on the autism spectrum by their parents — and has also focused on how to prevent institutional abuse from happening to other special needs individuals.

She believes that autism filicide is an increasing problem, one with inaccurate or underreported statistics. Generous is committed to collecting data and to improving the reliability of statistics in her future research. Her goal is to psychologically assess violent crimes, to produce research on autism filicide crimes, and to provide educational initiatives to better inform parents and medical providers. Science, she believes, will help her to accurately assess previous incidents and to identify trends, and a scientific focus will also help her to develop preventative measures to reduce risk and the possibility of these horrible crimes happening in the future.

Generous explains that police brutality against autistic people, another frightening problem, is an issue that arises because people on the spectrum have an impaired ability to understand social cues and nonverbal body language, and so they may appear to ignore or disobey orders from police officers. She also expresses her concern that discrimination against minority communities further complicates these interactions with law enforcement. “It’s unacceptable that this is where our society is right now,” Generous asserts, and she says that education and training for police are absolutely crucial in addressing these issues.

Generous says that she does not believe neurodiverse people are fully represented in the national workforce of 2022. However, she acknowledges that great strides have been made in by many big companies. She says, “I think companies need to actively work on increasing their amount of neurodiverse employees. This means supporting and hiring more employees who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, in addition to other types of diversity.”

“I think companies need to actively work on increasing their amount of neurodiverse employees. This means supporting and hiring more employees who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, in addition to other types of diversity.” —Alix Generous

She further emphasizes that companies should assess where they currently are and what they need to do to improve diversity and inclusion. Once they conduct this assessment, they need to establish initiatives for hiring, onboarding, training, and maintaining diverse employees. “Although each company is different in their needs, important qualities to practice are flexibility, providing accommodations without hesitation, and being mindful of how much time they are asking of their employees,” she states.

To learn more about Generous, visit her website. “I designed my website myself,” she says. “I am inspired by the Victorian era and romanticism, and it was important to me to incorporate [these features] in my design.” You can also check out her inspirational TEDWomen talk from 2015. Giving her own TED talk was a surreal experience for Generous. Everyone she encountered at the conference had done something meaningful and impactful with their life. It was inspiring to hear the personal stories these people shared.

Generous would like everyone to know that she is seeking mentors to help her move forward in the next stage of her working journey. Her newest endeavor is working to create a business model of her own, so she would love to get some help from experts who have walked this path.

Headshot of Angela Parker, PhD

Angela Parker, PhD, has over twenty-five years of experience in the federal government and private sector, and she has focused on environmental management, health and safety, food and environmental laboratory services, quality control, and quality improvement. Dr. Parker is also a faculty member teaching environmental and public health graduate courses at Grand Canyon University. She mentors graduate students researching ways to reduce environmental harm with cutting-edge innovations. She has been an AWIS member since 2022.

 

This article was originally published in AWIS Magazine. Join AWIS to access the full issue of AWIS Magazine and more member benefits.