People who can see well know what colors look like, but how is it possible to describe a color to a visually impaired or blind person? This subjective task may seem difficult since sighted people perceive colors differently from one another. However, it is possible to associate many colors with different smells, tastes, sounds or sensations to help the blind or visually impaired understand colors.
Part 1 of 3: using the other senses to describe colors
Step 1. Use touch to describe colors
Ask the blind person to hold an object while you explain its color. Think about objects that are almost always the same color.
- Give the blind person different pieces of wood, touch the bark of a tree or the earth, and explain that they are all brown.
Tell him: “The color brown indicates soil or dead parts of plants that have grown in the soil”
- Give different leaves or blades of grass to the blind person and explain that these things are green. Green is the living parts of a plant, because when plants are green, they are alive. You can even help him compare brown and green by also giving him some dead leaves and explaining the difference between those two colors.
Tell him: "The flexibility and smooth texture of the leaves indicate the color green." Green is the color of life. However, if the leaves crumble, if they are dry and brittle, they have turned brown and died”
- Ask the blind person to put their hands in a basin of cool water. Explain that the water is blue. Tell him that a small amount of water is light blue, almost transparent, and that a large amount of water such as rivers or the ocean is very deep blue.
Tell him: "The relaxing sensation you get when you swim in the sea or in a lake indicates the color blue"
- Explain that the heat of a fire, a candle flame or a fireplace is red. Red is usually associated with heat or even a burn.
Tell the person that if they've been sunburned in the past, their skin has turned red. If she's ever had an embarrassing time or felt herself blushing, the warmth she felt on her cheeks was red
- Explain that the concrete on the walls or sidewalks is gray. The metal has the same color. Tell her that this color is often hard to the touch and that it is either cool or warm depending on the absence or presence of the sun.
Tell him, “Gray is very hard and strong. It is solid like the road under your feet or the wall you lean against. However, this color is not alive. She does not push and she does not have any feelings”
Step 2. Use smells and tastes to describe colors
Some smells and tastes can be associated with different colors.
- Explain that the spicy dishes and the chili used in these dishes are often red. Other foods are red like strawberries, raspberries and cherries. Explain that the very sweet taste of these foods indicates the color red.
Say, "just as you can feel the color red when you stand in front of a heat source, you can taste it while eating a spicy food or dish."
- Give the blind person an orange and explain that oranges are orange. Ask him to focus on the smell and taste of the fruit.
Say, “Oranges are normally refreshing, sweet, and tropical. The sun is orange and many orange foods need a lot of sunlight to grow”
- Do the same with a lemon and a banana and explain that these fruits are yellow. Although their tastes are different, they are both yellow. The yolk can therefore have both a bitter citrus taste and a sweet and nourishing taste.
Say, “Yellow foods also require a lot of sunlight to grow. They have a bright and cheerful color”
- Give the blind person salad leaves such as lettuce or spinach leaves and explain that these foods are always green. Green smells and tastes clean. It is fresh and crunchy like the plants that grow in the earth, the taste of which is sometimes a little bitter. Green is generally not sweet like fruit. It is often bitter and can also give off different smells.
Give different herbs (such as mint) to the blind person to smell them and say, “The color green exudes freshness, cleanliness and good health”
- Regarding nature's non-food smells, explain again that tree leaves and grass are green and the water is blue. At the beach, the maritime smells are blue for the water and brown or white for the sand. Explain that flowers can have many different colors, even if they are of the same variety. However, as a rule they are not green, brown, gray or black.
Step 3. Think about how sounds can describe colors
Certain sounds can be associated with certain colors.
- Explain that rotating beacons (also called special vehicle warning lights) in public services are reminiscent of red, as this color is used to attract people's attention, and most rotating beacons used by firefighters and ambulances are red.
Say, “The purpose of the beacon is to immediately get people's attention, because there may be a danger. The color red creates a sense of urgency in people and it attracts their attention”
- The sound of flowing water, especially that of a stream or the ocean, should remind her of the color blue.
Say: "the color blue is calm and pretty like when you feel relaxed hearing flowing water"
- The green color can be associated with the sound of rustling tree leaves or the chirping of birds. Explain that not all birds are green. But because they live in trees, people often think green when they hear the chirping or chirping of birds.
Say, "When you hear the trees rustling or the birds singing, you hear the color green."
- Compare the thunderstorm sounds to the gray color. The sky is gray when the rain falls and thunder is heard. The gray of the sky makes things even grayer around us.
Say, “Thunderstorms are gray. Thunder and rain indicate that everything looks gray outside. Everything is a bit dark and depressing because you can't see the sun. "
Step 4. Describe how colors affect your emotions
Typically, people associate certain colors with their emotional or psychological state, and many studies have been done on the connection between colors and feelings. Explain the most common color-feeling associations to the blind person.
- Red generally indicates anger, sexual arousal, physical strength, or aggression.
- Orange indicates physical comfort, satiety, warmth, security and sometimes frustration.
- Yellow indicates kindness, cheerfulness, optimism, confidence and sometimes fear.
- Green indicates balance, freshness, harmony, environmentalism and peace.
- Blue indicates intelligence, freshness, calm, serenity and logic.
- Purple indicates spirituality, mystery, luxury, truth. It is often associated with dreams.
- Black has two sides: the positive side indicates refinement or glamor and the negative side indicates heaviness, threat or oppression.
- White indicates cleanliness, clarity, purity and simplicity.
- Brown indicates pragmatism, reliability, support.
- Gray indicates neutrality, lack of confidence or energy, and depression.
- The pink indicates the action of taking care of his children, his animals or his plants, warmth, femininity and love.
Part 2 of 3: use the numbers to compare
Step 1. Compare the colors to the numbers
Try to explain that for the numbers there is a huge amount of variation in the colors. Let us imagine that red is represented by the number 1 and yellow by the number 2. Between 1 and 2, we can find 1, 10; 1, 25; 1, 30; 1.50; 1, 70… Colors work the same. There are gradual variations when switching from one color to another.
Part 3 of 3: Finding out about the person's history of visual impairment
Step 1. Determine the nature of the person's visual impairment
Most visually impaired people can see something, even if they can only perceive light. The American Foundation for the Blind reports that only 18% of visually impaired people are completely blind and the majority of them can tell the difference between light and dark.
You may find this fact helpful in explaining black and white. You could say that black indicates darkness while white is the presence of light
Step 2. Ask the person if they were born blind
In the United States, most people with blindness have gone blind from eye disease. This means that many visually impaired people have been able to see at some point in their life. You may want to help them remember some things they used to see before they got sick by describing them.
Step 3. Ask if the person has color blindness
This disorder is a form of visual impairment that allows someone to see objects, but prevents them from discerning true colors. These are either confusing or different from how most people see them. Most people who are color blind see red, orange, yellow, and green as shades of the same color. They also see blue and purple as one and the same color. You can simply name the colors of everyday objects while you are working or chatting with someone with color blindness.