One of YouTube’s most famous babies turns 5

A lot of you may remember this video, which has been making the rounds for a few years. It shows eight-month-old Jonathan Breaux responding to his mother’s voice for the first time, after getting a cochlear implant.

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That was five years ago.  What’s happened since?  The good people at TODAY decided to find out:

Posted on YouTube in April of 2008, the video of “Jonathan’s Cochlear Implant Activation” has received more than 3.6 million hits and thousands of comments from viewers, many clamoring for an update.

Five-year-old Jonathan is “doing great,” according to his parents, Brigette and Mark Breaux of Houston, Texas.

“He’s in kindergarten and we’re working on speech,” Brigette, his 35-year-old stay-at-home mom, told TODAY.com. “He can hear everything that we say to him. It’s of course artificial hearing but he can hear and understand what we’re saying.”

After a bout with bacterial meningitis left him deaf, Jonathan Breaux regained hearing with the help of a cochlear implant, and is now a happy 5-year-old.

“He’s a flirt,” adds Mark, a 36-year-old corporate controller. “He was chasing girls around the playground when Brigette went to see him for his class party. He’s a handful.”

He’s also a bit of a miracle. On Christmas Eve of 2007, when Jonathan was just four months old, he contracted bacterial meningitis, an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord that can result in brain damage or death. He was hospitalized and recovered; however, the infection took a heavy toll on the boy and his parents.

“We’ve definitely had some challenges,” says Mark, explaining how his son now uses a “walker” on wheels to help him with balance issues. “The meningitis left him with the equivalent of cerebral palsy.”

It also left him deaf. And in those stressful days following his meningitis diagnosis, his parents had to make a huge decision.

“We were in the hospital and because of the meningitis, we only had a couple of weeks to decide if we were going to do the cochlear implant,” says Mark. “The cochlea was hardening because of the meningitis. We had a limited window to make a decision and if we didn’t make it, it would completely ossify and we would never be able to do the implant in the future.”

The Breauxs decided to go ahead with the surgery — and to post videos of the results on YouTube in order to help other parents going through the same experience….

…Mark, who recorded the video, is elated by his son’s accomplishments.

“His progress is growing every day,” he says. “It’s phenomenal. The bacterial meningitis he had was one of the worst kinds possible. The doctors and therapists who’ve been around him the last five years say it’s a miracle what he’s doing today. There’s no limit for him.”

Read it all. 

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