Color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD) is not a total absence of color. People who are color blind just have difficulty telling the difference between certain colors (like red and green) or detecting the brightness or shade of a particular color. It is a hereditary problem and has a tendency to affect boys. How can you tell if your child is color blind?
Color blindness can be very difficult to detect in early childhood since many kids will confuse colors. However, it is crucial to identify color blindness especially since many lessons in kindergarten are color-dependent. A child may be labeled as “slow” or “strange” because he insists on coloring clouds purple or can’t get the instructions on coloring the triangles red and the squares orange.
Observe your child when he is playing. Does he have trouble telling the colors when he is sorting blocks or looking at pictures in a book? Look at his drawings. Does he color his clouds red, or his leaves blue? Does he tend to switch green and brown, pink and white, and blue and purple?
The best way to tell if your child is color blind is to bring him to an eye doctor, who will give him a test. If he is diagnosed with color blindness, don’t worry—many people who have color blindness lead very normal and happy lives.
You may need to talk to his teacher. Pre school and primary school lessons are very color-dependent so your child may need extra assistance—particularly so your child doesn’t feel that he is ‘stupid’ because he’s confused by the lessons or the instructions in a test.
Your child may be reassured to know the colors of common objects (like green grass or red apples) and help him memorize important visual cues (like the position of traffic lights or the symbols on color-coded trash bins).
Little things like labeling the colors on crayons or marking color-coded materials can also make him feel empowered.
When he is older, talk to him about what color blindness is so that he understands what is happening. Assure him that color blindness is not anything to be ashamed of, and that it is just a ‘unique way of seeing the world’—and at the end of the day, everyone will always see things a little bit differently. You can also show him websites that help explain color blindness to kids.
Photo from colorvisiontesting.com