Gambling Disorder

What it is

A diagnosable condition via the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-v), and an area of student need involving persistent problematic gambling within a 12-month period, resulting in distress with at least four of the following:
1. Gambles with increasing amounts of money to achieve the desired excitement.
2. Restless/irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
3. Repeated unsuccessful efforts to cut back or stop gambling.
4. Preoccupied thoughts of gambling.
5. Often gambles when feeling distressed.
6. After losing money, often returns to recoup losses.
7. Lies to conceal the extent of gambling.
8. Gambling has jeopardized a significant relationship, job or education.
9. Relies on others for money to relieve financial situations caused by gambling.


• Alert all school staff that works with the student to the situation, discuss at the Student Success Meeting in secondary
• Be honest with the student about concerns/observations
• Consider establishing a special role for the student, like a class helper or a helper with younger students, in communication with parents/guardians
• Observe the student and communicate regularly with parents/guardians
• Connect student with available in-school supports (e.g.: Child and Youth Worker, Social Worker, Psychologist, Guidance Counsellor)
• Connect student and family with out of school supports (e.g.: local counselling agencies)
• Connect the student and family with available resources from the school library and/or websites
• Consider the development of Alternative Programming to help develop more positive coping and/or replacement behaviours
• Closely monitor time out of class, use of technology and peer interactions
Teaching Strategies


• Reduce number of expectations
• Advance notice of changes to routine, to reduce stress
• Provide prompts to being and stay on task
• Provide 1:1 check in’s to ensure understanding of instructions
• Chunk tasks into parts
• Provide frequent feedback, especially positive
• Consider establishing a helper role for the student


• Prearrange a safe location in the school for the student to go if/when feeling stressed to calm
• Offer preferred seating near supportive peers and/or near teacher
• Support healthy eating
• Encourage physical activity
• Carefully monitor peer interactions and use of technology to ensure on task (not gambling)


• Consult with parents/guardians and support staff on what is reasonable to expect from the student during this time
• Give advance notice for tests/assignments/presentations/projects
• Provide a study sheet/materials to prepare for assessment
• Reduce number of items/quantity to be assessed
• Prompts to return the student’s attention to the task
• Check in’s to ensure understanding of the questions/task
• Breaks during the assessment
• Extended time limits
• Presentations made to just the teacher and/or small group instead of full class