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OT: colorblind preschooler

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    OT: colorblind preschooler

    Does anyone have experience or insight dealing with a colorblind preschooler? My youngest is a little boy who is definitely red green colorblind, at the very least. He consistently mistakes red and pink with green and sometimes dark gray, too. Most tellingly, he thinks they are the same: if I have on a pink shirt and green shorts, he will come up and say "Mommy! Your shirt and your shorts are the same color!" It has been noticeable for the past year, but is getting worse--in that he is more talkative (seriously, he never stops talking!) and we are "working" more on color. He's 4 1/2. My dad is profoundly colorblind, so genetically, we knew this was a possibility. We don't want to call attention to it, and he isn't exactly frustrated by it, he's just so confused. If I say "Well, actually, my shirt is pink and my shorts are green," he gets a very puzzled look and says, "oh." Anyway, I am not entirely sure how to approach it!
    Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
    DD (age 10): MP 5
    DD (age 8): MP 2
    DS (age 5): MP K
    "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

    #2
    For us, we always treat these sorts of things with the level of honesty that is appropriate to the age and maturity of the child. I try to explain it on a level that is right for each one; so the actual child might get one explanation, while the older siblings get a bit more of an explanation so they understand it better.

    In this case, an explanation I would give is: "Our eyes are amazing parts of our bodies. There are many things our eyes can do. They can see things far away, and then they can adjust to see things that are close up. We can see the shapes of things so that we know how they might feel or how heavy they might be. What we see with our eyes goes into our minds as information to tell us these things, like size, shape, distance, and color. But because there are so many things our eyes can do, sometimes the parts of the eye don't work they way they should. Some people's eyes can't focus on things far away, or close up, and it looks blurry. These folks need glasses to help their eyes do what they can't do on their own. Other people's eyes can't tell the shapes of things, or the distance of things. And some people's eyes can't tell the difference between the colors of things. There aren't glasses to help with these sorts of problems. These are things we just learn to live with, like your Grandpa does. He cannot tell the difference between colors either, but he still does ok, doesn't he? His eyes and your eyes can still do all the other amazing things that our eyes are supposed to, and that's a great thing."

    Hope that sparks some ideas of talking points for you!
    AMDG,
    Sarah
    2020-2021
    16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
    DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
    DS, 17
    DD, 15
    DD, 13
    DD, 11
    DD, 9
    DD, 7
    +DS+
    DS, 2

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks, KF2000 I think the big issue has been my husband's reluctance to admit the colorblindness--DH is career military, as was his dad, and he wants to keep that option open to each of our kids, and sometimes colorblindness is disqualifying. He has agreed, though, to let the topic evolve naturally since little guy is getting confused by it. I like your way of describing it though, and as I am blind as a bat without my glasses, they kids are all familiar with the concept that not everyone's eyes work perfectly.
      Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

      Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
      DD (age 10): MP 5
      DD (age 8): MP 2
      DS (age 5): MP K
      "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

      Comment


        #4
        My 11 yo son is colorblind. We were pretty sure at an early age based on the same kinds of experiences you're having and I took him to the optometrist maybe around the age of 6 or 7, who confirmed red-green colorblindness. He's just learned to read the colors on crayons, colored pencils, etc. so that he's using the correct colors, and he does sometimes ask me to check his clothing choices to be sure they are the actual colors he thinks they are. Like your husband, mine struggled a little with the things my son won't be able to do...but they are few. The optometrist mentioned that he won't ever be a train conductor, and we know that there could be some issues if he chooses a military career. We're just open about it and my son accepts it.
        DS, 11 (MP 7M)
        DD, 8 (MP 3M)
        DD, 5 (MP K)
        DS, almost 1! (chewing on books and knocking stuff over)

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by ShaunaN View Post
          My 11 yo son is colorblind. We were pretty sure at an early age based on the same kinds of experiences you're having and I took him to the optometrist maybe around the age of 6 or 7, who confirmed red-green colorblindness. He's just learned to read the colors on crayons, colored pencils, etc. so that he's using the correct colors, and he does sometimes ask me to check his clothing choices to be sure they are the actual colors he thinks they are. Like your husband, mine struggled a little with the things my son won't be able to do...but they are few. The optometrist mentioned that he won't ever be a train conductor, and we know that there could be some issues if he chooses a military career. We're just open about it and my son accepts it.
          Thanks! We had him take a preschooler colorblindness test online, just with shapes, and he scored pretty severely red/green colorblind. My husband is hopeful that with the new colorblind glasses that exist that his career options will be wide open! We feel more empowered now that we do have an accurate picture of what is going on with him, a way to explain it to him, ways to help him cope, and perhaps a path forward with the glasses option. I do appreciate your help!
          Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

          Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
          DD (age 10): MP 5
          DD (age 8): MP 2
          DS (age 5): MP K
          "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

          Comment


            #6
            I have two sons who are red green colorblind, as well as a brother, some nephews, my grandfather, etc... There can be problems in things like, “Hand me the purple one.” And they give you the blue. Things which are very dark can be mistaken for black. Reading color-coded maps seems to be harder. My brother thought UPS trucks were green until he was in his thirties. I think this is actually much easier to work around at home than in schools. My nephew had a teacher who consistently marked his papers wrong when there were directions such as “Draw a red circle around ... or underline the correct answer in green.” I think preschool color blind kids do learn to read color names faster, but I have a ton of pictures with orange grass, purple skies, etc... I love them, because they are so unique.
            Yes, it might rule out some professions that rely on the ability to accurately distinguish colors. I have noticed that my colorblind boys prefer sketching in black in white over colored drawing. In a lot of settings, my boys have to let people know they are color blind in advance. My son works for a company that does a lot of color-coding for safety and classification, not just red and green, but also orange, pink, brown, purple, etc... He double checks colors with whoever is nearby.
            Do yourself a favor and never buy navy blue or tan clothes for him. Color blind boys are absolutely horrible at matching/coordinating clothing. We buy lots of black pants and jeans, because you can generally put one other color with that. All socks in solid black or solid white. For shoes, black dress shoes and black or white or grey tennis shoes. In general they don’t care too much what they wear, but don’t like other kids teasing them about what they have put together.

            Blessings,
            Jude
            DD24
            DS21
            DS18
            DS16
            DD14
            DS11
            DD9

            Comment


              #7
              Also just remembered that when my boys were little, I would use my label maker to print labels for their crayons in a nice, legible font. You could also do that with printing out a page and taping them on. The font on the crayons is too small. And in some books my boys could not pick out the writing on colored backgrounds

              Blessings,
              Jude
              DD24
              DS21
              DS18
              DS16
              DD14
              DS11
              DD9

              Comment

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