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Kelly Novotny will never forget the day the administrator of her 3-year-old's Mommy's Day Out program called her in for a meeting to discuss her son's behavior. "My kid was having frequent outbursts," she says. "He was frustrated all the time, and he didn't understand what they were telling him to do. They thought he had speech or behavioral issues."
Novotny, who lives in Cypress, Texas, says she started obsessing over what could be wrong with her child. In preschool, he qualified for speech services, and three years later, he'd met all his goals. But Novotny noticed he still wasn't conversing at the same level with kids his age, and he barely communicated with her. At the start of second grade, he was a year behind his peers in reading comprehension.
Nothing made sense until Novotny googled his symptoms and read about a condition called auditory processing disorder (APD). According to the Hearing Health Foundation, 5 percent of school-age children in the U.S., or 2.5 million, have APD. But the true number may be greater due to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed cases.