Autistic boy branded 'cheater' on X-Box

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by NATASHA RYAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on January 25, 2011 at 10:26 PM

EDGEWOOD, Wash. -- Imagine being so good at a video game, even Microsoft notices your talent. In this case, the attention didn't turn out to be a good thing for one autistic boy.

For 11-year-old Julius, playing X-Box is the highlight of his day.

"Julius can't play sports," says his mother Jennifer Zdenek. "He went to basketball school, couldn't take the basketball because he thought it was stealing someone's toy, so this is it."

He's a quick study, often mastering a game in 3 to 4 days. He calls his online fellow gamers his friends.

But five days ago, Julius logged on and saw that he was being called a cheater.

"Everybody thinks I'm a cheater," said Julius.

"… and he didn't understand," said Jennifer. She's been e-mailing and calling Microsoft to try to find out how her son got the label that is now right beside his name for all of his friends to see.

"This has affected him emotionally. He's branded a cheater and to him, autism, that's like a sin to him," said Jennifer.

Microsoft tells us they have the ability to look into accounts and, while it might not have been Julius or his mother, they are confident someone tampered with the account to boost his gaming score. At this point, his mother wants the word cheater gone and Julius wants to go back to tackling video game monsters, not labels.

Microsoft says a gamer can earn back the achievements by playing the game and gaining them as every other fair player does.

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