How to Help Your Colorblind Kid

Young children need some time to grasp the concept of color naming. And often during this learning process the parents ask themselves: is my child colorblind or not?

Ronita Baras from Family Matters put together a nice list of things what parents can do if it really is the case. Have a look at the whole list in her article: Is My Kid Color Blind?

I would like to pick a few items of the whole list which I think are very important and eventually add some more.

Tips for Parents of Colorblind Children

  • Make sure all people working with your child know he or she cannot tell the difference between some colors, but do not make a big deal out of it.
  • Ask the teachers to avoid using color coding in exercises, test sheets and marking.
  • Some standard tests are color coded, so ask your child’s teacher to help your child with it.
  • Don’t try to learn colors with your kid (it won’t work!) but instead learn to understand how he or she sees the world.
  • About 8% of all people are colorblind. You might want to try to find a colorblind friend, so they can share their impressions and tricks.
  • Don’t be astonished about a bad color taste in the selection of clothes. Just help your child in choosing matching pieces.
  • Every colorblind person starts to develop some strategies to overcome the handicap. Learn them.

But the most important fact for parents of colorblind kids is: Don’t panic!

The colorblind population is quite big which means your child is definitely not alone. And in most cases color blindness doesn’t really affect their life at all. There are even completely colorblind professors—so be assured that color blindness is not really a handicap on the personal development of your child.

By the way, Ronita writes also about How to Teach Kids Colors which I think is quite useless. A child will learn the concept of colors just through everyday life. Only parents think that the naming of colors is such an important thing which should be learned much earlier. Give your children some time and they will learn it.

Photo taken by James A. Stepp

7 responses on “How to Help Your Colorblind Kid

  1. Autism Toys

    Parents have really big part on this condition of the children. I agree with you that just let the kids learn their way. Aside from that we can’t do about it if the child is color blind. But of course we parents should be there for them in every step of the way, guiding them and helping them cope with situations.

  2. Mary

    It’s a nice idea about the teachers except it is very difficult to get the message across so that they really understand the problems involved. The other problem is getting them to remember that the child is colourblind! Our son suffers from protonpia. We had loads of problems with Primary school where he had only one teacher for the year. Now he is at secondary school with 14 different teachers it’s got even more complicated. I go each year and armed with picture’s as seen by the colourblind and everyone is very interested, but with so many kids it’s quickly forgotten. As for tests not using colours, I have taught in Primary myself and colours in tests are encouraged. Our experience was they weren’t going to change things for one pupil.

  3. Colorblind

    If your child is colorblind, it might actually give them a perspective on life that they wouldn’t otherwise get. I knew from about age 4 on that I saw things differently than my friends and teachers. While the friends and teachers didn’t always understand or accept it, I learned to very early on. When you spend every day of your life realizing that two people can look at the same thing yet see it very differently, I think it helps you become more open-minded and accepting of other peoples’ perspectives. I also think it allows you to deal with ambiguity and disagreement. I acknowledge that most of the world believes in “purple,” but I have never seen any evidence of its existence. Just as convinced they are that purple, lavender, turquoise, etc. exist, I am a doubter. This small aspect of life has brought me to appreciate differences of opinion and experience. Your colorblind child may actually have a richer childhood than his friends because of his “deficiency.”

  4. Kenneth Allblom

    Very few kids (and grown-ups) are “colourblind”. But appr. 4,2% of all people have a different colour vison. They see fewer colours than other people. 8% of boys see fewer colours. 0,5% of the girls.

    At my web page there are some examples that might help make teachers understand more about how the colour vision differences affect school work.

    Isn’t it frustrating how little knowledge teachers and school nurses/doctors have? In sweden it has not changed during the last 50 years!

  5. taylor

    I wonder about my nephew. He is three and readily can tell orange and pink but does not seem to know red, green, yellow and blue at all despite repeated exposures. It seems the primary colors are the problem and the others are no problem. Is this a type of color blindness or is he just too young to know all his colors?

  6. Wendy

    All of your comments are interesting to say the least.
    As a preschool teacher I stumbled on this forum while doing research on color blindness.
    Since we can’t stop teaching our children their colors. What are some techniques that you recommend when having a child that we see a potential problem in? I have in years past had a child that was colorblind. Since we were the first to see it, we knew where the problem was and were able to build the child up. For instance he had a hard time with red,green,and orange. In games that we played with the children we would always give him a color that we knew wouldn’t set him up to fail and thus embarrass him. But what are other ways that we can help a child who may also have a problem. I will ad, I teach a 3 yr old class and it’s not evident that they aren’t grasping color identification until the end of the school year. This student wasn’t diagnosed until the following school year since they don’t actually “test” until 4 yrs. They absolutely MUST know their colors before entering Kindergarten and with the plethora of other information that must be learned by then the more we can do at 3 the easier the following year will be.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with me.

  7. Kenneth Allblom

    I was so pleased ot read the concerns of Wendy, preschool teacher. There are so many possibilities for teachers and the child’s parents, to facilitate the life for a so-called colorblind child. When the grown-ups choose colors for playing, clothes, drawing etc. the choice should be color combinations so that the child is able to tell them apart.
    A few examples: red + blue + yellow + grey +white + black works fine for all but the very few who has a problem with blue/yellow and those who see only shades of grey (1/20000 resp. 1/40000).
    Another trick is to use different shades of one color, for example five shades of red (from dark red to light red) and five shades of blue.
    In my work to spread information on color vision and the simple solutions available, I am designing color schemes that work for us with this situation. The schemes will be published at