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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 12:56 GMT 13:56 UK
Sesame Street helps army children
Sesame Street character Elmo
Sesame Street's Elmo will be the key figure in the DVD
US children's TV show Sesame Street is to be used to help American military families explain why a parent has to leave to serve overseas.

A DVD featuring popular character Elmo and his parents who are preparing for Elmo's dad to be deployed, will be handed out for free in August.

The DVD, produced in both English and Spanish, also features interviews with real-life families.

It also deals with the mixed feelings that occur when families are reunited.

About half a million children up to the age of five belong to families with one or both parents on active duty in the US, said Leslye Arsht, a US government undersecretary for military community and family policy.

Joanna Lopez and her family are featured in the DVD. Her husband has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Some parents don't know how to deal with children when there is a deployment," she said.

"Other kids in school will say, 'My daddy is away killing bad guys.' This prepares the mom or dad to prepare the kids with better things to say."

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