This Londonderry Mom Is Helping Kids Find The Beauty In Being Different

When Izzy McKinney’s daughter, Lily, was a toddler, she would flap her arms when she got excited. At first, Izzy and her husband thought nothing of it. But when Lily started kindergarten, they realized that their daughter’s arm flapping was unique.

Flapping is a type of self-stimulatory behavior that is common in children with nuerodivergence and can help them alleviate feelings of sensory overload.

So when Lily’s class was assigned a school project to highlight what makes them special, Izzy encouraged her daughter to find things about her that stood out from her peers.

While thinking about her daughter’s project, Izzy decided to write her own poem about her daughter’s unique physical behavior to demonstrate to Lily that it’s okay to be different from friends and classmates — that everyone has unique attributes.

Eventually, Izzy expanded the poem into a children’s book called “What Makes Me Special.”

After Izzy’s second child, Bryant, was born, she wrote another children’s book, this time focused on her son’s neurodivergence, Dyspraxia. This book is titled “My Buddy Bryant: A Story of Friendship and Dyspraxia.”

The first book’s proceeds go toward the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire, a non-profit that provides life-enhancing experiences for children with chronic conditions, and the second book’s proceeds go toward Dyspraxia Foundation USA, which seeks to educate the public about Dyspraxia and provide support and resources to families.

Izzy embodies the best of our state by destigmatizing neurodivergence and promoting acceptance and inclusion. Her books provide a fun avenue to help children and adults understand that including people who experience physical or behavioral differences or disabilities can strengthen our families, our communities, our state, and our country. That’s why I’m proud to recognize her as May’s Granite Stater of the Month.

This is the official Medium account of U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

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