Meet our Child Life Specialist Manager- Melissa Grialou

March is Child Life Month. As we celebrate the important role child life specialists play in the care of children at our Shriners Hospital, we invite you to meet our very special team. A hospital stay can be a stressful time for both children and their parents. Child life specialists help patients and their families cope with the experience by giving children opportunities to play, learn and express themselves in a safe and compassionate environment of care. By working directly with patients, child life specialists empower children to express their fears, gain awareness about their medical care and, in turn, the ability to positively deal with their hospital experience.

Name:   Melissa Grialou

Occupation/Title: Manager of Therapeutic Recreation, Child Life and School services, Certified Child Life Specialist

Interests / Hobbies: Spending time with my husband and our two boys (I play a lot of Legos and Frozen). I love going to the movies and also love spending time outside. I just started to work on my culinary skills and have since become good friends with Pinterest.

When did you start working at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California? I started with Shriners Hospital in Sacramento almost 11 years ago, but recently became a manager in July 2015.

Why did you choose to become a Child Life specialist? I became a child life specialist because I wanted be a positive part of what can be a very stressful and scary situation for children and families in the hospital.

Can you share a bit about what makes your job so rewarding? Our job is rewarding because we have the opportunity to see the strength and resilience in children on a daily basis.

How would you describe a good day at work? A good day consists of seeing a child and family utilize the coping techniques we have worked on together and then watching them realize that they have the power and strength to get through difficult moments.

What would you like the community to know about Shriners Hospitals for Children-Northern California? SHCNC is a special place. We have such a great community within the hospital walls and all work closely together towards making our mission a reality.

Anything else you would like to share about your job? Child Life Specialists want to help you. We are specially trained to help make the hospital experience more positive so please utilize our services.


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Please call our Referral Center to schedule an appointment, call (916) 453-2191 or via email at A Referral Coordinator will partner with you to gather the necessary information to allow our physician leadership to evaluate the best path for your child.
a graphic of some silhouettes of children playing