Country: South AfricaFocus: Medical DevicePartner: ShonaquipPost-Extreme Lab: Design LabPost-Extreme Lab: Social E LabStatus: Still In DevelopmentYear: 2017



Partner: Shonaquip

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common movement disorder in children – 1 in 300 babies develop this condition and 17 million people currently live with CP worldwide. With one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world, South Africa has a higher prevalence (about 1-8%) of CP due to a higher rate of premature birth, lack of obstetric care, and disease. CP is a permanent non-progressing disease, however there is a wide range of severity and symptoms.

While the central features of cerebral palsy is a disorder with movement, difficulties with thinking, learning, feeling, communication and behavior often occur along with cerebral palsy. While there is no cure for CP, assistive devices for 24-hour positioning can ensure proper growth and development, minimize secondary complications, and maximize a person’s independence and community engagement. This approach not only emphasizes the importance of having a child sit in an appropriate wheelchair, but also encourages caregivers to ensure that the child with CP is managed properly throughout the day and is also standing and lying down properly. Children with cerebral palsy in South Africa need access to a high-quality devices that allow for 24 hour positioning. Standing is an essential part of this 24 hour positioning, and is the portion that is often neglected by caregivers. Shonastand is a standing device designed to increase access for children with cerebral palsy to standing therapy that is essential for their proper growth and development.

The Challenge: to design an affordable, mobile, and user-friendly standing device, in order to increase access for children with cerebral palsy to standing therapy that is essential for their proper growth and development

Big Idea: Designed with the caregiver in mind, ShonaStand is a therapeutic device that allows for high quality standing therapy for children aged 1-6 with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities in South Africa. Our device is a simple interface for the caregiver with fewer and more intuitive adjustments, as well as an ergonomic waist loading height. It has a mobile sporty design so that standing therapy can be enjoyed both inside and outside the house, where children will have more opportunities for social engagement. ShonaStand is completely foldable, allowing for smaller packaging, lower shipping volume, and ultimately a more affordable price for the purchaser.

Current Status: Catherine Smith and Richie Sapp (who were part of the original Extreme course team) along with Kinjal Vasavada (a new team member after the course ended) have been continuing to work on the project over the 2017 summer through the Social E Lab. Former Extreme course team members include Jake Mooney and Sadhna Gupta.

Please contact us at if you have any questions or are interested in supporting this project!