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New 'Sesame Street' Resources Help Parents and Children Navigate Health Care Challenges

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sesame street characters visit the doctor
(Courtesy Photo)

Military parents have relied on the "Sesame Street for Military Families" program to help them navigate the challenges of relocation, and now they have another tool to help. In conjunction with the Defense Health Agency, "Sesame Street' has created new resources to help parents and children handle the challenges that come from relocation in regard to their health care providers.

Between moving every few years and not seeing the same providers each time they go to the military treatment facility; children may not feel comfortable going into the new doctor's office. Parents set the tone for the relationship between the provider and their children, as they are the ones who find the provider, transfer records and accompany children to the appointments.

"Military families face unique challenges in many aspects of their lives. Among those may be transition to a new health care provider following a move or other life event. For military children who are facing change, this may be particularly anxiety- or stress-inducing," said Dr. Kelly Blasko, mHealth lead for the Defense Health Agency's Connected Health branch, in a news release. "Through our partnership with Sesame Workshop, we now have a dedicated section on 'Sesame Street for Military Families' to provide military parents with resources to meet their child's needs during time of transitions in health using the familiar faces of 'Sesame Street' Muppets. Ultimately, the health and wellness of our families leads to the readiness of our force, when service members can rest assured their families have the resources they need to thrive through any experience."

The resources include a "Visiting the Doctor" game, as well as videos and printables -- including coloring pages and activity sheets -- for a glimpse into what to expect from their visits to their new doctor or dentist. There are also articles for parents so they can feel comfortable about the transition and understand the medical terms that health care teams generally use.

Providers who see military families -- especially those in remote areas who may not be familiar with the intricacies of military life, can attend a webinar to help them understand their unique needs and experiences. They can also use the printables and videos in their waiting rooms.

"Caregivers are already the best advocates for their families' health; when it's time to relocate and transition their children's health care, we want to empower them every step of the way," said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Sesame Workshop's senior vice president for U.S. Social Impact. "Our new resources will equip parents with the language and tools they need to maintain consistent care and to help children adjust to new health care situations -- with a little help from their 'Sesame Street' friends!"

The "Sesame Street for Military Families: Transitions in Health Care" resources are accessible in both English and Spanish and are available online, along with the other resources for military families on relocation, deployments and homecomings and transitioning to civilian life.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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