Color blind glasses

Rochelle News-Leader | Kings students have been given glasses to help them fight color blindness

KINGS — About four months ago, Steven Steiner, a history and English teacher at Kings School, discovered that one of his students was color blind.

He contacted a company called EnChroma to see if he could get glasses to help the student. She was asked to test every student in the school for color blindness and found five more who needed glasses. Steiner reached an agreement to get glasses from EnChroma for each of them. It was about four months ago.

Five color-blind Kings students received their glasses at a school-wide assembly on Friday, and some saw the colors for the first time. Others with milder color blindness saw the colors in their full capacity.

On Friday, Tyson Carmichael (sixth grade), Aiden Carmichael (seventh grade) and eighth graders Alex Foster, Ben Foster and Andrew Johnson received glasses. Fifth-grader Colton Hopp couldn’t attend the assembly, and Steiner gave him his glasses the night before.

“I did it yesterday and his reaction was so special to me,” Steiner said. “Because as a teacher, I always want to help my students see the world in a different way and experience things they have never experienced before. Just seeing his reaction was truly something I will never forget and I’m sure he would say the same.”

At Friday’s assembly, students from the rest of the school wore bright colors so students could see through their new glasses. EnChroma sent out brightly colored balloons. After the students put on their glasses, they saw new shades of orange, and their mouths opened in surprise after Steiner asked them to look at the colors of the flag.

After assembly, the students performed color-based activities to become more familiar with their new glasses.

The glasses are specific to each student and their color blind needs. Some have very severe color blindness and for others it is milder. Kings has approximately 90 students. About 4-5% of people are color blind.

“Some of the kids with more severe color blindness responded as I expected and I think it was life changing,” Steiner said. “As teachers, that’s what we do. Two of the students were brothers, and it didn’t surprise me that they were both color blind. They actually have different types of color blindness. Seeing them both reacting the same way was special to me.”

Each student received two pairs, one for indoors and one for outdoors. Steiner made sure to give the students glasses with adult frames so they could use them as they grew into adulthood. He thinks it will be very important for them later in life when they have to deal with issues like red lights.

“I think it’s really important to make sure that if someone is color blind, they know it,” Steiner said. “I’m really happy that I was able to provide them with the tools they needed.”