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Colour Blind Awareness Day 2019

About Us

Colour Blind Awareness is a Community Interest Company (non-profit) formed in 2010 to raise awareness of the needs of colour blind people in the community.

Colour Blind Awareness was founded by Kathryn Albany-Ward after she discovered that her son was colour blind. When she started the campaign she believed he had a common form of the condition but has since discovered he has the severe form deuteranopia. Having been shocked to discovered by chance that her son (then aged 7) was colour blind, Kathryn was very surprised to learn not only that teachers are not trained in how to identify and support pupils, but that children are generally not tested for colour vision deficiency at school entry. At that stage (2010) colour blindness wasn’t even considered to be a Special Educational Need.

Having seen computer images simulating the world of the colour blind and then subsequently discovering just how much information in school textbooks is inaccessible to colour blind students, Kathryn resolved to raise awareness of the condition in the population in general and in educational circles in particular.

This resulted in the establishment of Colour Blind Awareness CIC and the production of this website, as a source of information for other parents who may have suspicions that their child is colour blind or have just had their child diagnosed and are not sure what this might mean or how to support their child. Information for parents and teachers is now a major element of the website.

The work of Colour Blind Awareness is wide-ranging. We work

  • across education with stakeholders ranging from small primary schools to Ofqual and Government Departments
  • in sport (primarily in football) at European level where we are a Football and Social Responsibility Partner of UEFA and we have Official Observer status at the Council of Europe. We also work with European Football Associations and other stakeholders including the Premier League
  • as a consultant to business and our clients have included 5 Boroughs NHS, Action for Children, Hermes Asset Management, Oxford University Press (Educational), The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and many others.
  • We provide consultancy services via Colour Blind Awareness (Consulting) Limited. For more information about this organisation please contact us via info@colourblindawareness.org.

    Our recent successes are best followed via our social media accounts (see the Home page for more information) and by following our hashtags #ColourBlindAwarenessDay #1ineveryclassroom #1in12boys #1in12men #1in200girls #1in200women #Iam1in12 #Iam1in200 #1ineverymalesquad.

    We often advise journalists in print and broadcast media including the BBC and ITV and newspapers and international press including Ottawa Citizen and Columbia News Service (NYC). We regularly appear on UK radio stations, most often on the BBC including BBC 5 Live. You can follow our TV appearances via the Colour Blind Awareness YouTube Channel . Our most recent live TV appearance were on Sky Sports and on BBC Breakfast (May 2019).

    In 2016 we were able to convince both the Department for Education and the Government Equalities Office that colour blindness can be considered a Special Educational Need and a disability. We are also delighted to be a Member of the Council of the Council for Disabled Children .

    In 2016 we successfully challenged the BBC, with a decision made in our favour by the BBC Trust requiring the BBC to do more to ensure their output is colour blind ‘friendly’ in future.

    The Awareness campaign in the media commenced in September 2010 with the publishing of the first of a series of articles aimed at parents and teachers (see Press Releases) in Attain magazine (www.attainmagazine.co.uk). Since then we have had several articles published in educational magazines including Early Years Educator, SecEd and Prep School Magazine. More recent articles have been published by Innovate My School and the British Journal of School Nursing.

    This is just the start! If you are interested in supporting the campaign please contact us.

    ‘Colour Blind’ v ‘Colour Vision Deficiency’ Awareness Organisation

    We occasionally receive comments asking why we are the ‘Colour Blind’ Awareness Organisation when colour blind people are not blind to colour. We debated long and hard over the name. In case you are interested to find out why we went with ‘colour blind’, please read on!

    We are, of course, aware that people with a colour vision deficiency are not blind and not blind to all colours, but it is true to say that more than half of people with deficient colour vision are ‘blind’ to many colours. For example a protanope is unable to see red as people with normal colour vision can and will be ‘blind’ to certain shades of red if it is used as text on a black background because he will be unable to see it.

    It’s the same with a deuteranope who will never be able to see green as someone with ‘normal’ colour vision will (although he can easily learn to identify it in many situations). To him certain greens over certain reds/oranges/browns e.g. in a logo, will be totally invisible.

    Many colour blind people don’t realise that there are others with a different form of CVD to their own. If they are aware they are not always able to appreciate how to these other people certain colours are invisible in some situations.

    Colour blindness is therefore an accurate term in many instances.

    ‘Colour blind’ was chosen ahead of ‘colour vision deficiency/CVD’ etc because the whole ethos of our awareness campaign is to raise awareness of the condition itself within the general public. Unless we can raise awareness in the general public there will be no changes made for the benefit of those with colour vision deficiencies.

    Most people have never heard of colour vision deficiency or CVD and will switch off if these terms are mentioned, but everyone thinks they know something about colour blindness because this is the term in common parlance.

    If ‘colour blindness’ is mentioned everyone has an opinion – they had a colour blind grandfather, or one of their school friends was colour blind and so on – so they pay attention. If we can attract attention and then demonstrate that pre-conceived ideas are wrong (such as most people thinking colour blind people just confuse red with green) then we can educate people. If we can do this in an interesting way, we can persuade people to pass information on to their friends and family and therefore raise awareness in the population. Most people with normal colour vision have never thought about why colour blind people confuse red and green even though to someone with normal colour vision this seems absurd.

    We therefore chose to use the term ‘colour blind’ over ‘colour vision deficiency’ – to raise awareness in the general population.

    For example, last year we approached ‘Cricket on 5’ because some of the graphics they were using were not colour blind ‘friendly’. We were able to persuade the producers of the programme to change the colours by advising them of the prevalence of colour blindness amongst the general public. We do not believe that it would have been so easy to convince them to do this if we had approached them using the term ‘colour vision deficients’ because they would have had no idea what we were talking about and in order to explain we would have had to use the term ‘colour blind’ anyway.

    If you are colour deficient and offended by the term ‘colour blind’ we hope you can understand our approach and appreciate what we are trying to achieve, which is to assist everyone with CVD in the longer term. You will see that throughout the website we have taken care to use the various terms such as deficiency etc to describe colour vision deficiency and its different forms.