Jason Edgecombe was bullied as a child ... not just by his peers, but he says his teachers and Scout leaders also jumped on the bully bandwagon.

"I struggled through my early life being the weird kid. For a long time I thought I was just a noisy little monster," he says.

Originally from Canada, Edgecombe was diagnosed with ADD with ADHD traits when he was 7 years old. This was rediagnosed as Asperger Syndrome (or high functioning autism) just five years ago.

Edgecombe, from Greerton, is the founder and director of One Unique Minds which provides mentoring and social groups "to help young people see their awesomeness".


"I guess you could say we help people with labels. I don't believe in those labels. The way disability is looked at ... it somehow makes us a little less.

"I don't subscribe to the medical model. In my view everyone is different."

But Edgecombe's "label" also steered him in the direction of mentoring others. It began his life's apprenticeship, he says.

One Unique Minds helps teens in their personal development, self esteem, and also provides basic literary skills and lifts people out of isolation and/or depression.

"We have people that we know are still here (alive) because of us," he says.

One of the social groups is a laughter-packed Dungeons and Dragons Social Group which really helps teenagers, Edgecombe says. Video games were a godsend to Edgecombe as a teenager.

Addressing a crowd at a TedX event in 2015, Edgecombe spoke of video games and how they helped to save his life. Edgecombe was drawn to the world of video games as in this universe he could be "normal".

Playing the fantasy board game helps teach critical thinking, with basic maths and English skills, teamwork and social skills.

"The game allows us to make mistakes with consequences and you can learn from those mistakes. In the game there are so many scenarios ... it's a game where you can practise life.

"They have to do the calculations and it is all based around math ... throughout this fantasy world of fighting monsters, saving villages and discovering treasure they have got to do math and read the books and do their own little parts of the story. It involves a fair bit of problem solving and critical thinking.

"It's a safe and non-judgmental world that also involves magic and dragons."

Contact Jason Edgecombe if you are interested in attending the group on 021 024 57647 or email jason@oneuniqueminds.co.nz