May 29, 2021

Senator Hassan Recognizes Elizabeth “Izzy” McKinney of Londonderry as May’s Granite Stater of the Month

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan recognized Elizabeth “Izzy” McKinney of Londonderry as May’s Granite Stater of the Month for using poetry, illustrations, and her personal experiences to bring much-needed attention to neurodivergent conditions in children.

 

When Izzy was raising her daughter, Lily, she noticed that Lily would flap her arms in excitement. It was not until Lily started kindergarten that Izzy and her husband realized that Lily’s arm-flapping was unique. Flapping is a type of self-stimulatory behavior that is common in children with neurodivergence and can help them alleviate feelings of sensory overload.

 

Inspired by a school project assigned in her daughter’s class, Izzy decided to write a 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. She later expanded the poem into a children’s book called “What Makes Me Special” and donated proceeds toward the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire, a non-profit that provides life-enhancing experiences for children with chronic conditions.

 

Izzy wrote a second children’s book focused on her son’s neurodivergence, titled “My Buddy Bryant: A Story of Friendship and Dyspraxia.” The book encourages children to embrace each other’s differences, and all the proceeds for this book go toward the Dyspraxia Foundation USA, which seeks to educate the public about Dyspraxia and provide support and resources to families.

 

Senator Hassan launched the “Granite Stater of the Month” initiative in 2017 to recognize outstanding New Hampshire citizens who go above and beyond to help their neighbors and make their communities stronger. To nominate a New Hampshire citizen to be a “Granite Stater of the Month,” constituents can complete the nomination form here.

 

See below or click here for Senator Hassan’s statement to the Congressional Record honoring Elizabeth “Izzy” McKinney of Londonderry as May’s Granite Stater of the Month.

 

Ms. HASSAN. M. President, I am proud to recognize Elizabeth “Izzy” McKinney of Londonderry as May’s Granite Stater of the Month. A nurse and mother of two young children, Lily and Bryant, Izzy is using poetry, illustrations, and her personal experiences to bring much-needed attention to neurodivergent conditions in children.

  

When her daughter, Lily, was a toddler, she would flap her arms when she got excited. Izzy and her husband thought nothing of it at first, since Izzy also used to flap her arms when she was a child.

 

It was not until Lily started kindergarten that Izzy and her husband realized that Lily’s arm-flapping was unique. Flapping is a type of self-stimulatory behavior that is common in children with neurodivergence and can help them alleviate feelings of sensory overload.

 

For a school project that encouraged students 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.” All the proceeds for the book go toward the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire, a non-profit that provides life-enhancing experiences for children with chronic conditions.

 

Later, after Izzy’s second child, Bryant, was born, Izzy 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” and encourages children to embrace each other’s differences. All the proceeds for this book go toward the Dyspraxia Foundation USA, which seeks to educate the public about Dyspraxia and provide support and resources to families. Izzy also runs her own blog, flappingoodtale.com, about her experience parenting two children who are neurodivergent.

 

Izzy embodies the best of our state by destigmatizing neurdivergence 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. I wish Izzy all the best as she continues this important work.  

 

###