Possibly Color Blind Toddler?

Updated on November 28, 2018
L.S. asks from Morrisville, PA
13 answers

Dh and I have noticed that ds#2 (2 and half) often calls red purple. Sometimes he gets upset when we correct him. It's hard to tell if it's just his age or is it a concern. With other colors he sometimes gets them wrong but it isn't the same as with red. Like he could show us something yellow and say orange for example.

I intend to bring it up at his 3 year check up. But that's still 6 months off. I wasn't sure if this is something I call his doctor about. Does anyone have any experience with a child being color blind? Is there something we can do to help him or tell if he is having a problem?

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answers from Boston on

I thought my oldest was color-blind because he could not accurately identify colors. He was tested at age 4.5 and his color vision was fine. It's very normal for children to have trouble naming colors until ages 4-6. If it's still a problem as your child is nearing Kindergarten, you can have him screened for this at that time as it's helpful to know before a child enters school so that his teacher will be aware.

In short, you are years away from this being an area of concern. Right now, it's perfectly developmentally appropriate to have a child use one color's name for another's value.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My husband is color blind. I don't know that there's anything you can do about it. He's just had to compensate here and there. When we drive to Wisconsin (or anywhere else that has horizontal traffic lights), he has to work harder to follow them :-)

There are some pictures you can use to check. You can probably find some on-line.

But I would just call your pediatrician and ask. I'd say it's more likely that he just doens't know his colors yet. He is only 2 1/2. Most kids at that age don't know all their colors yet ... at least not consistently.

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answers from Portland on

I used to work with small children and kids do not know their colors well at that age. So he could just still be learning.

My husband and I differ in what we call red, pink, blue and purple - because of how we were taught them. Neither of us is color blind.

I personally would not call the doctor's office for this. You can mention it at next appointment if that makes you feel better. At some point, he can be tested properly.

My kids had the odd difficulty (speech, motor etc.) growing up - those were things you could get help for and work with your kids on. Color blindness - I think maybe some tips (as suggested below). Personally, I would let it go until then. If he gets upset when you correct him, let it go for the time being. It's not going to set him back in life.

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answers from Boston on

Don't worry about this now. Knowing the name of a color at 2.5 is no test of abilities. Don't correct him. They're just colors.

There are tests for color blindness that are more accurate - seeing a shape in a mass of "bubbles" of different colors is a common one. For older kids and adults, they use numbers. For little ones, they'll probably use shapes (tree, boat, etc.). But remember that many people with color blindness can see some colors and not others - my father was like that, and so is my son. It's not like the whole world is gray.

My son never tested as color blind and we only found out much later (in high school). The only adaptation we made was that he asked the teachers not to use both red and green markers on the white board at the same time - they made the letters "jump" around. So the teachers cooperated.

He wore a lot of black and gray clothes so he didn't have to think about it! Otherwise, he hasn't been shortchanged at all.

So yes, mention it to the doctor before you go in for the check up, but don't sweat it. Honestly, what are you going to do about it anyway? He'll adapt, and so will you.

I wouldn't be correct a 2.5 year old on colors, or letters, or shapes, or anything else. Just let him be a little kid and don't push the academics.

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answers from Allentown on

My son was diagnosed as colorblind at age 3 and a half. At age 5 they reversed the diagnosis. Despite the fact he is super intelligent and skipped a grade in school, as a toddler he somehow failed the test for colorblindness. And this wasn’t the test of asking colors, it was the test of tracing lines with his finger of what he saw. And he still failed it. But he is not colorblind. I would say at this age testing is not accurate. If he is colorblind you will know by kindergarten. And there is nothing to do about it. As others said there are expensive glasses but they aren’t really useful for daily life. I wouldn’t worry about it now. Don’t correct him, just say the correct colors as you come across them. If he says something else, just ignore it.

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answers from Norfolk on

Toddlers don't always have their color names down yet.
Ask your doctor about it but it's nothing to worry about.
It's not like there's a cure for color blindness so knowing about it early makes no difference.
There are pictures you can find online to help you detect color blindness but your toddler has to be able to tell you what shape he sees.
Does color blindness run in your family?
It's usually hereditary - so if you don't have any color blind relatives it's not likely your son has it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

It is nothing to worry about. I have known for ages that my oldest is colorblind so I was not surprised when the school nurse confirmed it for me when he was in kindergarten. It has made no difference in his schooling or anything except he has to ask a friend if a paint is purple or blue sometimes. No big deal at all!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My son tests Colorblind. You wouldn’t have known except for the exam by the optometrist. He can name all his colors correctly. The doctor did recommend that we alter the school and inform our son so that he can keep this in the back of his mind as he chooses careers. I.e. maybe he doesn’t want to diffuse bombs, or anything else where color choice is mission critical.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My son (21) is colorblind. There is nothing you can do about it. I noticed him getting red/green and blue/purple mixed up when he was young. An eye dr visit confirmed it. It is more common in males. My nephew is colorblind as well. I remember him saying that he had to look at a stop light based on what light was on (top or bottom) to determine if he should stop or go.

I do feel bad for him as I really have no idea what he sees! He says things look brown or gray but how do I even know if he sees brown correctly! But other than the expensive glasses, there is not much else to do and he will adapt.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

If he is colorblind there is nothing you can do for it. (Except see below) My father is and he has just learned to adapt...let people help him with color matching on clothes, etc. He can only really tell the color blue for sure everything else is kinda grey. He can't tell red from green at all and forget pink it looks grey.

I was worried for my son as it shows up in males but the gene is carried by the female offspring past on to their sons. My son did not inherit it.

There are some very expensive glasses that do correct the issue and I would love to buy my dad a pair. They really aren't for everyday wear but go over normal glasses they are still between $500-$800 for a pair...think shooting range type glasses. Every year for Christmas I check the price on them.

I would schedule an eye exam for him as 3 is a good age or even before to see a pediatric ophthalmologist for a good check up. But I wouldn't worry if he is, you guys will adapt and if he isn't then maybe purple isn't his color at all. (If he can tell red from green though he probably isn't color blind.). Good luck!!

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answers from San Francisco on

I honestly don't know but why not call the nurse line and ask? That's what they are there for, to answer questions about your child's health and development.

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answers from Portland on

My father was color blind. He saw all pastel colors as gray. He couldn't tell the difference between red and green. He relied on the placement of the color on the stop lights. He also knew it was red because the lit light was a different shade of no color than the unlit green light. He had unconsciously learned how to see color differences by the intensity of one color over another color. He saw intensity other than a color.

Perhaps your son is consistent with color red because you're trying to correct him. Most kids his age don't accurately know names of colors. The color of purple is combining colors from the basic 4 colors. Purple is a combination of red and blue. When we combine those 2 colors the result could be more red and less blue or vice versa. I suggest that recognizing secondary colors is not as simple as naming basic colors. I suggest that his brain may not yet be mature enough for that destinction with the colors red and purple.

Learning color names is a process related to memory. That is why I suggest that focusing on red and continuing to correct him may have taught him to see it as purple. I recommend that you ignore red and/or purple for awhile.

I suggest you learn about color and color blindness on the Internet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

It's great that your son is using color names in his conversation. The accuracy is not important at this age. You can help him learn accurate names by using them in your conversational speech. "Look, I'm using all red Leggos to make a truck." "I'm going to wear my blue coat today." "Dad, could you give me the green mint?" Corrections and questioning the names of anything (items, people, colors, etc.) does not promote learning, but sure increases frustrations. All my best.

1 mom found this helpful
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