Color is so important for many children with CVI. I recently assessed a child in a typical kindergarten. Careful interviewing of parents and his team plus observations and direct assessment uncovered this important information about this child’s color preferences:
- This child’s parents immediately report “red” as a favorite color. He always picks red clothing, red toys and wants to paint his room red.
- This child’s teacher immediately was able to state that “red” was this child’s favorite color. When I asked this teacher whether he knew the favorite color for other children in the class, the answer was “no”. (This color preference for this child with CVI was strikingly evident for a teacher with 14 other students in the class!)
- the child codes by color against complexity and at distance. He picks the wrong yellow toy from a toy box when searching for his favorite yellow truck. He moves to to the wrong purple box at 10 feet thinking it is his backpack.
My observations and direct assessment revealed:
- This child looks at all colors and colored patterns.
- This child does have a distinct preference for the color red for visual attention at near and distance but all colors are used for recognition.
- This child was observed visually locating and then following a peer dressed in red or orange when told to line up, when evacuating the building in a fire drill and when outside on the playground.
- Told to pick items for decorating a snowman in Art, this child walks completely around the table to chose a red ribbon for the scarf.
- Walking the hallway to Art, this child was observed to have increased visual attention to red items in the hallway on all planes (materials on the floor, wall, above to the red Exit signs and to children dressed in red walking by).
- In the Speech session, this child picks red pirate game piece and has great sustained visual attention to the red, lighted spinner.
- Asked to pick a marker for an activity, this child picked the red marker every time.
- Asked about a bowl choice, he asked for the red one.
If we know this child has such a strong color preference, we can infuse this color into activities that are difficult for him:
- Added to the locker hook to hang up his coat
- Added on the classroom sign-in sheet to highlight where to place his name.
- To draw his visual attention to salient learning features.
- Added to the envelop edge to help him place the paper into the folder.
Missing this vital information about color, misses a great learning accommodation for visual functioning.
Remember “preference” does not mean this color is the “only” accessible color.