My Colour Blind Boy – How he Sees the World

Posted By KidGearUK on Wednesday, 9 March, 2016 | 10 comments



 

Little Robot is 4 and recently had a vision screening, Little Robot’s sight was found to be below average. Hardly surprising considering that virtually everyone in the family wears glasses for some reason or another. We’ll be going back for another test in a few weeks and hopefully after that we’ll know what’s wrong and what we need to do. Yesterday though, I also told the orthopist that I’d suspected Little Robot was colour blind.

 

My brother is colour blind, my grandfather was colour blind, my mum is a carrier for it, there was always a chance I was too. I thought back to all the times I tried to teach Little Robot colours, how his older brother immediately got it but Little Robot struggled. I thought back to how he used to tell me his favourite colour was black and how he has a short attention span when it comes to colouring books. Only last weekend he was telling me the red traffic light was orange, the weekend before a dark green pen and a brown pen were both the same according to his eyes.

 

So she got out a book of coloured dotty circles with different coloured dotty numbers hidden in them, also known as Ishihara colour test plates. You’ve probably seen these things before. The first one, he saw the number straight away but apparently everyone can see that one. As he looked at each of the other test plates and told us there were no numbers in them, my heart sank a little more with each turn of the page.

 

Ishihara Colour Test Plates

Ishihara Colour Test Plates

I suppose I never paid much attention to colour blindness before, my brother has it and gets on OK. He drives, he works in IT, he used to tap on my bedroom door and ask me what type of resistor he was holding (he liked building electronic circuits but the components are colour coded). My grandad had it and worked as a TV repairman back in the days when TV’s were massive brick shaped objects. It was just one of those things in the background as I grew up.

 

Though now I know my son has it, I wonder how many times he’s been asked about colours at school and preschool. If he’s ever felt frustrated, confused or been told he’s wrong because his eyes don’t work the same as yours or mine. His favourite cuddly toy, which is bright pink to a non-colour blind person, is more like grey to him. I burst into tears when I thought of how our Christmas tree decorations must look to him, red and gold baubles on a green tree all looks pretty brown no matter how much glitter it has on it.

 

How a Christmas Tree looks to a colourblind person

 

Desperate to understand how he sees the world, I downloaded some apps. Chromatic Vision Simulator is free and uses your devices camera to show you what the world looks like to a person with colour vision deficiency. As I wandered around the house, pointing my camera at all his favourite things, I couldn’t help but smile. I now understand why he loves superheroes so much. It’s more than just a little boy loving the drama of defeating bad guys and heroes saving the day. Superheroes, in their bright, contrasting colour costumes with lots of blue and yellow, are some of the brightest and most colourful things he can see.

 

How Superman Phonics Fun books look to a Colourblind Person

 

Even Superman still looks pretty cool when you’re colour blind.

 

My Colour Blind Boy - How the World Looks to my 4 Year Old With Colour Vision Deficiency

 

Cuddle Fairy
This Mum's Life

10 Comments

  1. I have never really thought about colour blindness before….
    This is so interesting to read and see how others see things.
    #bigpinklink

    Post a Reply
    • KidGearUK

      I find it quite strange to think that what’s red to me looks quite different to someone else! I’m glad there’s apps that can show me roughly how he sees things. I think that helps.

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  2. I’d not thought about this before so seeing how people actually see things and the impact it can have is really interesting. Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • KidGearUK

      Yes, it’s interesting to see how different everything looks. I’m glad that I can do this. My my brother was little there were no smartphones and apps, my mum probably found it quite hard to imagine what my brother could and couldn’t see properly.

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  3. Oh wow, the world does look like a different place – it’s much more subdued. Superman does look cool though with the gold – I like it! The crazy thing is that Little Robot won’t know what things “should” look like. To him it’s just how the world looks. Thanks so much for linking up with us at #bloggerclubuk

    Post a Reply
    • KidGearUK

      Yes, I was thinking the other day that he’ll never know what a rainbow or sunset look like to those without colour blindness. I told my husband we have the perfect excuse to buy new Christmas decorations this year…if we have blue and silver ones they’ll look much prettier for him!

      Thanks for hosting #BloggerClubUK 🙂

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  4. I’ve always found this interesting, as a child my friends Dad was colour blind and I remember thinking it was crazy that he saw things differently to us! His attitude of course was that it was just normal to him, and although I can completely understand why you were upset, it’s good that you have previous family experience of it and have seen first hand that actually he’ll be absolutely fine as he goes through life. Also now you are aware, you and others e.g teachers can tailor certain things to be more visually appealing to him although I bet he is not in the slightest bit bothered! #bigpinklink

    Post a Reply
    • KidGearUK

      Yes, he wouldn’t have known anything was different to him if we hadn’t found it at the eye test.

      I remember trying to teach him colours holding up coloured balls from a ball pit and he looked so confused. Of course I now know the red, yellow and orange look virtually the same to him. It was upsetting to think of how many times he’s been confused and if he’s ever thought he was stupid because he couldn’t see the different colours. But now we know and now I can make things interesting, make sure we use suitable colours for him to practice writing, etc. I’ve also been teaching him what to say so that if he can’t read something properly or is being asked to sort using colours or look at something colour coded, he can tell the teacher at school.

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  5. Gosh, this actually makes me feel so emotional, I’d never thought about the possibility of colour blindness before. I think it’s the thought of him struggling to understand what people are asking him. Maybe you can get him to chat to his uncle if he struggles with it and he can reassure him that you can live a normal life. Thanks so much for linking up with us again. #bigpinklink

    Post a Reply
    • KidGearUK

      Yes, that’s what got to me. He’s either thought we’re all crazy or that he’s stupid because I’m sat their showing him yellow and orange and he can’t see much, if any, difference! But now we know and I’ve told his teacher and have been teaching him how to ask for help, he’s only 4 and quite quiet in class so I hope he feels confident enough to ask.

      He’s got his uncle for advice and there’s apps that can show me how he sees things, I think it’s easier for me to know what he sees than it was for my mum back when my brother was small!

      He’s in good company too. It affects 8% of men so there’s lots of people to look up to, Eddie Redmayne, Christopher Nolan and Mark Zuckerberg (his colour blindness is the reason Facebook is blue!) are colour blind too.

      Post a Reply

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