7 Tips for Teachers with Colorblind Students

by SKHC Editor on March 19, 2009

Children who are colorblind face many challenges and have special educational needs in order to be successful. Most color-deficient children can indentify pure, primary colors. However, it’s the different shades and tints that can cause them problems. Color-deficient children may consider red, orange, yellow and green all names for the same hue. Children could also believe the same about the colors violet, lavender, purple and blue.

Some of the most commonly confused color combos are pink/gray, orange/red, white/green, green/brown, blue green/gray, green/yellow, brown/maroon and beige/green. Also hard to differentiate are pastels and muted tones.

If a parent, teacher or school nurse suspects a child may have a color-deficiency be patient and insist on the child being screened for color blindness. What may appear as a child not trying or panicking when it comes to certain activities could actually mean they have a color-deficiency. It can’t be stressed enough, insist on color vision testing.

In the meantime, and going forward here are some tips on how to help a colorblind child in the classroom.

1. Use white chalk when writing on the chalkboard to maximize contrast
2. Label coloring/writing utensils and arts and crafts materials (crayons, markers, colored pencils, pencils, sharpies, colored paper, etc.) with the name of the color
3. Always use white paper – even if it requires you have to photocopy material from textbooks and other educational material
4. Teach colorblind students the colors of everyday common items (grass is green, bananas are yellow, etc.)
5. Try not to use color coding (such as on a bar graph, map or other objects). If you do write the color by the item so the colorblind student is able to distinguish.
6. Work as a team – pair up students together or assist colorblind students on standardized tests (which are not colorblind friendly)
7. Educate all students on what colorblindness is – it’s usually easier to be accepting of a problem when you understand what it is.

Source: School Nurse News, March 2009 Issue

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