Testing your kid for colorblindness (The Ishihara Test for Colorblindness)

What numbers do you see revealed in the patterns of dots above?

(Ishihara Test for Colorblindness)

Q: My oldest son came home from school the other day with a note from the school nurse that he failed a colorblindness test. I haven’t followed up on this yet, so haven’t confirmed it or found out what kind of color deficiency or the degree yet. If he is “colorblind” as it is called, I am surprised it hasn’t come out yet in Japan, since he has had several physical checks at school there. Also, I never noticed any problems in hoikuen or even first grade. I will talk to the school nurse to try and get more details.
A quick read on the internet suggests that certain types of color deficiency can make it difficult to go into certain professions in the US: pilot, law enforcement, certain military posts and some types of engineering. I guess it must be similar in Japan? If anyone has information or experience with this I would appreciate your thoughts.
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A: Schools here in Kashiwa, Chiba test for color-blindness. I recall receiving a paper for Grade 5 or 6 asking parents to sign the paper if we wanted our child tested. I thought it strange that they didn’t just go ahead and do it.
It’s interesting that the first test for this was developed by a Japanese professor called the Ishihara Color Vision test. — N.
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A: They test for colorblindness in Japan. Maybe in the upper elementary? The test might be different than in the U.S.: It looks like this test on YOUTUBE.  — L.
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A: Taking the youtube tests (basically the Ishihara test that was mentioned) with my son convinced me for sure – it is amazing we can look at the same pictures and see totally different things! We will have a test done by a physician once we are back in Japan to get an official confirmation and to find out what kind he has and the severity. I guess the school screening must be done later in elementary schools in Japan as some of you mentioned, perhaps grade 5 or so. It is apparently more common in males (extremely rare in females) and passed on the mother’s chromosome. I should have been on the lookout for it since my brother is colorblind, but I really never noticed anything before at all. Although I hadn’t noticed any problems resulting from this in my son so far, those of you with young boys who are having problems in school might want to be on the lookout.
My brother had LOTS of problems in school in his early years in the US simply because of his colorblindness. But once it was diagnosed he did fine and was able to become a doctor even though apparently you need lots of color differentiation to get through anatomy courses.
As long as you don’t have complete colorblindness (see only in black and white), which is very rare, many textbooks have now been revised to work for both normal populations and those who are colorblind. (thanks to an again apparently Japanese invention of some glasses which simulate colorblindess and so allow publishers to see how their texts look to colorblind students).
For those who are interested, I also read that although colorblind people cannot differentiate some colors and see things that most of us do, they also CAN see some things that the rest of us cannot. It is really interesting.
My son’s colorblindness is “mild”. The doctor explained it as him being able to see differences, but seeing them in different colors than most other people.
The doctor we took him to here in Tokyo says that the schools stopped mandatory testing of colorblindness on Japanese children about 10 years ago because it doesn’t really affect anything. In fact, she doesn’t even see any need to inform his teachers that he is colorblind.
It is true that I never noticed even the slightest problem in early years with textbooks etc,.. I don’t know whether that is because my son’s case is very mild or because Japanese textbooks are already designed to work well regardless of how children see their colors. Apparently, the reason Japanese doctors pioneered so many of the tests and technology to study/correct colorblindness is that the wife of one of the Japanese emperors was colorblind. Just FYI…
— H.

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