Yesterday we visited the eye doctor for the very first time. Neither my husband nor I wear glasses, so optical issues are foreign to us. But, I have long worried that the youngest Scroggins Hoodlum was colorblind. At three, when he was learning his colors, he was often inconsistent with how he named them. I felt he learned what colors certain items “should” be, like grass “should be” green. My husband and other friends discounted my worries, saying he was just toying with us–knowing it was a game. I talked with his pediatrician about the issue around the same time, and she suggested we wait to test him until he was older so the test would be more valid. So, I put the worry out of my mind, and concentrated on things like figuring out right/left handedness and learning how to recognize letters.
This year, his kindergarten teacher shared my hypothesis, noting his frustration with certain instructions involving colors, and his lack of attention to details or interest in art or writing activities. Yesterday, we were both proven correct, as he was in fact diagnosed with classic red/green color blindness. I double and triple checked with the doctor to ensure his answers to the questions were consistent, because on top of pondering what he could see, I also know he is less than trust worthy when he’s not entirely interested. But, he did answer consistently, and now I’m looking into how he views the world–a little less vibrantly than I do.
I’ve found some interesting simulations:
This link shows what a red/green colorblind person sees in reference to the color spectrum. Click the links at the bottom to see the changes.
The following pictures also show some of the differences.
“Normal” Color Vision:
Red/Green Color Blind Vision:
There are thousands of other examples out there, and right now I’m a little addicted to trying to embed myself into his world. Of course, thousands of people are color blind–approximately 8% of white males in fact. The gene is carried by the mother on the X chromosome, so I only have my own genetics to blame. But, I will admit that my heart is a little heavier today knowing that he doesn’t see the world as vibrantly as most of us do, or that some of the details in the background are lost on him because they blend together. I know elementary school will be a little more of a struggle for him because as I look around, EVERYTHING is taught on or around the basis of color. Little things like colored chalk and expo marker make a difference in whether or not he can distinguish what he’s trying to learn. Math manipulatives, puzzles, colored text in readers, science patterns, science diagrams–we live in a colorful world, and I’ve always thought that color helped to cement a concept. Now I’m learning that sometimes it can actually hinder the learning process.
In the grand scheme, I know this is a minor bump in his road, and in his world, everything looks beautiful. I am also content in the fact that we have more insight on his brain workings, and might now be able to find different ways for school, specifically that whole pencil paper process, to be exciting and wonderful for him.
And since he can see blue and yellow just perfectly, that’s where I plan to start…bluebonnets, bananas, daffodils, smurfs (NO WONDER he loved that movie!!)…