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3.2 DS doesn't know colours

(14 Posts)
pedalpants Thu 21-Jul-11 19:26:42

he seems to know black and white, and possibly pink, but he is wrong with all other colours most of the time. we try to make it relevant for him, like saying ooh, that's red - like your blanket/our car - whatever, but it doesn't seem to be sticking. he's no genius, but he's not dim either, he got shapes from a young age, and understands the concept of numbers and letters, though he doesn't identify individual ones yet (though I wouldn't expect that tbh). He is starting to draw now, but won't identify colours in his scribbles or when selecting pens.

I've tried to adopt a very relaxed attitude, he is very resistant to be 'tested' in anyway. if anyone asks him 'what colour is this' he generally doesn't answer.

he's obvious still very young, 3.2, but it is starting to become an issue e.g. other people expect him to know his colours and there are activities at swimming e.g. fetch the blue cups, which he can't participate in.

What can i do to help him?

Al1son Thu 21-Jul-11 20:41:04

Could he be colour blind? You can download pictures for children to test this or your health visitor should have cards to use. I guess an optician would also be an obvious port of call.

Al1son Thu 21-Jul-11 20:42:44

Oops. Pressed post too soon.

I wouldn't ask him any more until this is checked because he's likely to find it very confusing if he can't see a difference.

pedalpants Thu 21-Jul-11 21:36:45

mm, so can I just turn up at Vision Express and ask them to test him? Would it be free? I've never considered having either of them tested at an opticians because they both seem to have perfect eyesight (for diggers, biscuits etc..!) but I guess it would be good to rule it out (or in).

anyone else got colour blind DCs and how did it manifest itself?

PandaG Thu 21-Jul-11 21:40:06

perfectly common for him not to name colours at that age.

Perhaps try , without saying anything, sorting something into colours , say make single colour duplo towers. He may start to pass you the correct colour, or copy and make a single colour tower himself. (or he may choose not to!) If he does copy you it will show he can differentiate between colours but not name them.

PinguFanatic Thu 21-Jul-11 21:48:40

There's quite a few colour blind tests you can do on the web. They are quite good as you don't tend to ask "what's this colour", it's more "What number is that" or "What shape is that" and if they can see the shape then you know they can see the different colours.

Is there a chance he's just being contrary? I know my son would randomly give cars colours which weren't right and then argue with me if I dared to correct him. He doesn't do it so much now he's 3.5.

pedalpants Thu 21-Jul-11 22:08:34

yes, he is contrary, he counts incorrectly just for a laugh but i think the colours genuinely fox him so will try to print out a colour blindness test (can't imagine doing it on screen without him mucking it up somehow!)

will try some solo coloured duplo towers as well. we have loads.

Al1son Thu 21-Jul-11 23:23:17

You could also try making mistakes on purpose. E.g. ask him what colour cup he wants then give him a different colour. If he notices you'll know he's being contrary.

VisionExpress Fri 22-Jul-11 12:17:00

Hi pedalpants,

You can book an eye test for DS at any of our stores (or any optician).

Childrens eye tests are free on the NHS, further info on childrens eye tests can be found here - also at the moment we are offering a free adults eye test when you book your child in

LaWeasel Fri 22-Jul-11 12:28:14

I looked this up a while back as I realised I had no idea what stage children were supposed to learn colours at. Apparently normal runs all the way up to 4!

DD is younger but does a very odd thing where she mixes up contrasting colours eg yellow/blue, purple/orange, red/green. The colour blind tests look like they will be too hard for her at this stage so I guess we will have to leave it until she's older.

Good luck.

AnnaBegins Fri 22-Jul-11 12:34:36

Linguistically, colours are one of the hardest things to name for children, as separating the spectrum up into arbitrary colour blocks is confusing for them, apparently some 6 year olds can still struggle with colours. And children who know the colour blue may still find it hard to accept that the sky is blue, for example. Guy Deutscher has a really interesting book with a chapter on this, called Through the Language Glass. So basically, don't worry yet smile

pedalpants Fri 22-Jul-11 18:44:42

thanks all really helpful. have requested the voucher for the free adult test with child's test from VExpress. will be handy as I am blind as a bat (but not colour blind..)

Haven't found any opportunities to test any of the above ideas out today, but I did overhear a conversation between him and DD today "What's your best colour", DS "um Blue", so he does seem to be taking more of an interest at least.

AngelDog Sat 23-Jul-11 22:55:40

I was talking about colours to my MIL who has spent her life as an early years teacher. She is still amazed that now many nursery aged children are expected to know (some) colours. For most of her teaching career, reception teachers were expected to start teaching the children colours.

A book I read said that it's only at 3+ that they can start to distinguish similar colours eg yellow / orange or red / orange.

BalloonSlayer Mon 25-Jul-11 08:20:18

My son's friend is completely colour blind and I think his mum said they noticed when they were talking about the traffic lights, as DCs are always fascinated by the way grown ups tell them what to do all day yet obey a set of coloured lights. She realised her DS genuinely couldn't tell which light was which.

It's worth trying to find out because at 3.5 he will want to start colouring etc and if he is colour blind you can get pens/pencils with the colours written on them and other helpful things.

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