Colorblind student sees new hues with special glasses

FELTON — Imagine seeing a rainbow in full color for the first time. That’s what Weston Williams, 12, experienced last week after receiving a pair of glasses for the colorblind from Enchroma.

“The best part is if you smudge the glasses, it’s in rainbow,” he said, still impressed days later.

The soon-to-be seventh grader at W.T. Chipman Middle School in Harrington has never been able to distinguish between purple and blue, green and brown or pink and orange to name a few combinations, according to his mother Karen Williams.

“It started in preschool when they would work on colors. He would get very frustrated,” she said.

To find out what was going on with Weston, the family tried some color testing of their own online.

“When he was struggling, I would just tell him, ‘Sometimes they fool you and nothing’s there.’ And that would make him feel better,” she said.

Life with a colorblind child was interesting, Ms. Williams went on to describe.

“He kept complaining, ‘Why is our house gray and black? It’s kind of boring,’” she explained.

Weston turned his struggle into strength by working around his colorblindness to the best of his ability with the help of his family. Before each school year, his mom says she would alert his teachers of his colorblindness to help alleviate potential frustrations between teacher and student.

Without consideration of his colorblindness, Weston says school can become challenging.

“In fifth grade, I had to copy a bar graph and when the teacher came around to check, my paper was blank. I said there was nothing on the board. It was in green and yellow and I couldn’t see it,” he said.

His mom says an easy fix is to add patterns in black so Weston knows which bar goes to which pattern. Another color-focused project in school required Weston to draw a traffic light during art class. His traffic light depicted only the yellow light as lit with the other two lights black while other students’ lights included green, yellow and red.

“I asked him why he did it that way. He said it was because when they’re not lit, they’re black. I thought that was really interesting,” Ms. Williams said.

Despite the struggles of colorblindness, young Weston is an award-winner photographer among other accomplishments.

“Knowing that he was colorblind, it’s hard because I don’t know what he sees. I think it helps his photography because he doesn’t look for color, he looks for compensation instead,” his mother said. “Having to describe where things were, it was difficult. You don’t know how much of the world they’re not seeing or experiencing.”

Weston is also involved in Odyssey of the Mind, cub scouts and 4-H. He submits hundreds of entries to the Delaware State Fair each year, including his photography work.

According to his mom, the Felton resident has already completed 65 hours of community service in just this year including book drives benefitting local hospitals, Shepard’s Place and local libraries. He is also working on a project to create safer roads in Delaware. He hopes to convince state leadership to paint lines on roads which currently have no lines to help bus drivers see better in inclement weather.

Weston can also add scholarships on his list of recent awards and honors.

This year marks the second year Weston has earned recognition as a Carson Scholar, a national program which awards $1,000 scholarships to fourth through eleventh grade students who maintain a 3.75 GPA and actively perform community service. The monetary award is given just once, but the honor of being a Carson Scholar can be given for as long as the student is nominated by the school and meets the requirements.

Weston was prepared to receive his honor in Washington D.C. among other students and leaders this year. When he walked onto the stage to be greeted by Dr. Ben Carson, Weston handed him a business card.

“His wife said, ‘Oh, that’s cute,” Weston said with a smile.

To the average middle-schooler, Weston’s growing list of accomplishments and overcoming colorblindness in a world made of color may seem daunting. But to Weston, “it’s just a thing.”

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