For everyone Book review: Can’t Not Won’t, Eliza Fricker

  • By Louise Swinn
  • This article was published more than 6 months ago.
  • 30 Sep 2023

Told from a parent’s perspective, this is an illustrated tale about Fricker’s daughter Lexy, who found it hard to settle into kindergarten and even harder to settle into school, and whose anxiety about it all did not lessen as she got older. 

Lexy is diagnosed with autism. She finds school difficult in a multitude of ways, and not wanting to go makes every morning a challenge. A change of teacher for the day, or her good friend being absent, can completely throw Lexy off course.

Fricker outlines the complexity of navigating the support systems, and the difficulties of communicating with even the most well-meaning and well-intentioned adults. The book concludes with helpful essays from a speech-and-language therapist and from a teacher.

It’s a good reminder that for children like Lexy, school avoidance is not about stubbornness – and it needs not judgement but understanding. This is a short and sweet guide to help anyone navigating or learning about this terrain.

Can’t Not Won’t by Eliza Fricker is apublished by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

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