Colour Blind - The Effects of Colour deficiency syndrome in school children
Colour plays a huge role in our every day lives, from knowing what food is ripe to stopping at a traffic light. Now imagine a world where red and green look the same or where a sunset is made from shades of yellows. This is the case for children and adults that have colour vision deficiencies.
What is colour blindness?
Colour blindness, or colour vision deficiency, happens when the ‘cones’ (colour-detecting nerve cells located in the back of the eye) do not develop correctly. So people who are colour blind can in fact see some colours, they just have trouble distinguishing between the specific kinds. For example; red and green or blue and purple.
There are two main forms of colour blindness that are more common;
- Deutan (deuteranomaly) In Deutan-type colour vision deficiency, children may experience confusion between colours such as green and yellow, or blue and purple.
- Protan (protanomaly & protanopia) In Protan-type colour vision deficiency, children may experience confusion between greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns.
As a teacher, what can I do?
It is not often that a teacher will notice a colour-blind child in their class, sometimes they chalk it up to having ADHD, or simply not paying attention to an instruction, and sometimes it goes unnoticed simply because a child has learnt to differentiate between the subtle changes in certain shades to know that it links to what we would call ‘red’ or ‘green’. Other children might even have a close friend that they ask to point out the colours they are struggling with. So, it is not always possible for a teacher to pick up these things unless they know what to look for.
Here are some easy changes to help in your classroom:
- Write the colour ‘red’ underneath a shape or object that is red etc
- Do not put key colours next to each other such as; greens and yellows, oranges or reds and browns. Purples and Blues is another.
- Do not base a pattern purely on colour, use shapes or objects as well
- Try not to write with red and green markers on a white board as they will appear similar
- Write out the name of the colour if it is relevant to the instruction e.g. ‘yellow sun, ‘red car’ etc
- Make sure that all the art supplies and colours are labelled correctly
Being more mindful about a child's needs is always our goal and can save you a lot of trouble in the long run, even more so if everyone understands the limitations of colour vision deficiency. We can then help by being more mindful about the way we verbalise and instruct or even provide key visual aids to assist a child during their developmental years.
This is why we at Labels4school have introduced our latest label range, the ‘Colour Blind Label’ pack. This unique label pack has been specifically designed to assist children entering pre-school and junior school to identify and easily learn colour variations at home and in the classroom. Each label is marked with a colour bar, a corresponding symbol and the descriptive word. The words are written in all lower case for younger children with black text on a white background so it appears crisp, clear and easy to read.
Our colour blind labels are printed on both our permanent and semi-permanent labels. The permanent ones are are waterproof, fridge/freezer, and dishwasher safe. The semi-permanent ones are also waterproof. They come in a wide variety of sizes so you can use these labels on anything from cutlery, lunch boxes and toys to pencil crayons, pens and other general stationery items.
Get your set of colour blind labels here