We are proud to be a member of the Council For Disabled Children for two reasons.
Firstly, children with colour blindness can be considered to have both a Special Educational Need and to be disabled as they need extra support in many situations both at home and at school.
Secondly, colour blindness can affect children with other Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), some of which have colour vision loss as one of the symptoms, but in other cases children will be affected as a separate condition. This is because 1 in 12 boys and 1 in 200 girls inherit colour blindness. See also Acquired CVD.
Children with colour vision problems who also have other Special Educational Needs are far more vulnerable than children with colour vision deficiencies (CVD) children in mainstream school environments not only because they may not be able to verbalise their inability to distinguish some colours, but also because colour is an inherent part of educational tools for early years teaching and for teaching to special educational needs.
Therefore it is extremely important for parents, teachers and carers to be able to identify whether a child with SEND might also be colour blind, especially non-verbal children, so that they can specifically tailor teaching aids to the needs of the individual child.
Colour vision deficiencies (CVD) are likely to affect the results of any tests to indicate other Special Educational Needs which include colours as part of the assessment. An example is the Rapid Colour Naming subtest of the CTOPP (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing) test which is used to indicate phonological processing and help identify dyslexia. Likewise the online Dyslexia Screener has a coloured shapes section which may also cause problems. Before using any such screening tests check them for potential colour issues and refer to the producers if you are unsure.
Be aware that even though a software package might have been produced by a specialist in Special Educational Needs this does not necessarily mean the software takes account of colour vision issues because at present CVD is not considered to be a SEN.
As mentioned in the Types of Colour Vision Deficiency section, children with some other visual impairments such as glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, are also more likely to have colour vision defects which may not present in the same way as genetic red/green colour blindness – i.e. different colours may be affected.
Without a Visual Impairment Statement it will be difficult or impossible to get access to Visual Impairment services for a child with CVD. Hence if you suspect a child is showing signs of possible CVD it is extremely important to arrange for a child to be tested and diagnosed to ensure you can fully access support.
For information regarding children taught by Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) refer to our downloadable booklet by clicking Non-verbal children.