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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles > Colorblindness


All humans are born colorblind. The cones in the eye that are responsible for color vision do not begin functioning until a child is about four months old. Unfortunately for some children, these cones or one of the cones, do not ever begin functioning.

There are three different varieties of cones present in the human eye, red cones, blue cones and green cones. These cones match the main colors of light. Together, they make it possible for humans to see all of the available colors and shades. If one or more of the cones is not functioning properly, humans are unable to see that color and some colors that are affected by the absence of that color. This disorder is called colorblindness.
There are three main types of colorblindness.

• Achromatopsia- This type of colorblindness happens when a baby never develops any cones. They see in only black and white. Fortunately, this condition is very rare and only affects about one out of 40,000 babies each year.

• Protanopia- This type of colorblindness results from the lack of red cones. Suffers of this condition cannot distinguish between green and red but they can see all of the other colors. This condition affects one out of every 25 babies.

• Deuteranopia- This type of colorblindness results from a lack of green cones. The result in sight is the same as in people with protanopia and its occurrence is the same.

Children are usually first tested for colorblindness around the age of three years old. Since colorblindness is hereditary, children with a predisposition for the condition can be tested earlier.

Colorblindness is more common in boys since the condition is passed on through the X chromosome. Girls can only get colorblindness if their father is colorblind and their mother carries the gene for it.

Since there is no cure for colorblindness, there is no way for color vision to be restored in these children. While this may make learning some things more difficult for children who suffer from colorblindness, there are a lot of things that you can do to help your child learn.

• Buy your child a book that explains colorblindness. Many times, parents may find it hard to explain the colorblindness to their child. There are a variety of excellent books on the market that explain this condition in kid-friendly terms and with great, colorblind-sensitive illustrations.

• Label children's markers and crayons. If a child is old enough to read, you can simple label these items by writing the proper color name on them. If your child is too young to read, you can draw a picture of a common item that is always that color. For example, on a green marker, you could draw a picture of a tree.

• Pin labels on your child's clothing. The same labeling system that you use for markers can be used to help your child choose their clothing and dress themselves independently.

• Decorate your child's world in a variety of colors that they can see. Since some colors will be off limits to their vision, it is best to surround them with colors that they can process. This will keep your child from having to look out upon a world full of monochromatic color or grays.

• Use the colors your child can see to personalize his or her belongings. If your children have special cups or plates that they eat of off, make sure that your child's are a color that he or she can see so that they can tell which one is theirs. This concept also applies to toothbrushes and other personal hygiene products such as towels and hairbrushes.

• Inform your child's school of his or her condition. Many special education teachers have techniques and tips for dealing with children who suffer from colorblindness. Even if your child is not enrolled in a special education class, they can still benefit from learning these tips from the teacher.

• As your child grows up you will invariably discover your own system for dealing with his or her condition. Just because your technique wasn't suggested by a professional does not mean it won't work. Feel free to trust your own judgment and instincts.

Copyright 2013. All educational materials are the sole property of Kid First Internet and are available for the benefit of our parents. Duplication or use of any material requires the express consent of Kids First Internet.

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