Colour blindness

4 Special Educational Needs

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 developed by a specialist in Special Educational Needs (SEN) this does not necessarily mean the software takes account of colour vision issues because at present Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) is not considered to be a SEN.

As mentioned in the Types of Colour Vision Deficiency section, children with some 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 – 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 CVD, it's important to arrange for a child to be tested and diagnosed with a Statement to ensure you can fully access support.

Children with colour vision problems who also have other special educational needs are far more vulnerable than CVD children in mainstream school environments not only because they may be less 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 children with special needs.

So teachers and carers must be able to identify whether or not a non-verbal child might have colour vision problems so that they can specifically tailor teaching aids to the needs of the individual child.

Learning Together

A guide for teachers and special educational needs co-ordinators

Send us your best practice examples.

Learning Together

Department for Education logo

Times Educational Supplement

Scope is a content partner of the Times Educational Supplement.