Country: South AfricaFocus: Medical DevicePartner: ShonaquipPost-Extreme Lab: Design LabPost-Extreme Lab: Social E LabStatus: Handed to PartnerYear: 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: The ShonaStander is a high-quality standing positioning device that effectively and therapeutically supports children with severe physical disabilities. The stander ensures that children are correctly supported at an appropriate weight-bearing level in a device that is ergonomic enough for caregivers to use multiple times a day with different children. It supports two different therapeutic positions, prone and supine, and all the supports easily adjust to properly fit children from ages 2 to 7 years old with a limited number of failsafe adjustment mechanisms. The device is made affordable due to its compact shipping and its materials were chosen so they can be sourced in remote areas for local repair. The stander is more comfortable than other positioners so children can stay in the device for longer periods of time, and features an interactive and colorful lap tray for better socialization and sensory stimulation, along with optional robust rugged-terrain tires for taking children outside where they can interact with the world at eye level.

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.

In Spring 2019 the stander was shown at an African Health Expo. As of September 2019, the stander has been batch produced and already sold to clients, although it is still undergoing final clinical testing. In October 2019 the stander is going to be exhibited at the ISPO World Congress

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