After a few tears and skinned knees, physical therapy alumna Shannon Riek Davis (’03, ’04) knew there had to be a better way for her youngest daughter to learn to walk. Davis used her knowledge of body mechanics and her experience constructing orthotics and wheelchair modifications to create the Little Balance Box.
Her creation has been such a success that Davis and the Little Balance Box were featured on The Today Show “Mompreneur” segment on March 8, 2017, to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Davis first thought of the idea while her husband was deployed overseas. She was trying to take care of their two children and manage her two businesses all at the same time, even staying up all hours of the night to do so.
To help her youngest learn how to walk, she bought a wheeled walker. “She was using a wheeled push walker, and every time she went from the carpet to the tile floor, the walker moved too fast and she fell forward,” said Davis. As this cycle happened over and over, Davis knew she needed to create a device that would better assist her daughter in learning how to walk on a variety of floor surfaces.
This came easy for Davis because of her experience at Shenandoah University. “SU provided me with a wide array of clinical experiences which forced me to think outside the box and consider [other] career possibilities [where] I had no previous knowledge,” said Davis. The support she received from her former professors also helped Davis during this business venture.
“I had great relationships with my professors!” exclaimed Davis. “They were always very supportive on a professional and personal level.” She believes Shenandoah provided her with a well-rounded, professional foundation for her career.
She wanted to invent an alternative to the more traditional walkers. The Little Balance Box is accessible to children throughout their developmental stages, allowing them to sit or stand as they grow. “It facilitates natural stability and mobility by allowing a baby the opportunity to practice moving from sitting and standing positions, and transition from standing to walking,” explained Davis.
Davis spent countless hours working with several varieties of wood, making fine adjustments to the foot design and experimenting with various features until she was confident in her prototype. She then safety tested the Little Balance Box to ensure passage of all the baby product safety regulations for the United States, Canada and Europe.
The Little Balance Box is also appropriate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Being able to provide hope to parents faced with a developmentally delayed child is also extremely rewarding,” said Davis. “The Little Balance Box gives these parents an opportunity to help their child practice standing and walking in a way other toys or medical equipment simply cannot.”
Davis continues to strive to create accessible products for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as the CEO of Inspiration Physical Therapy Inc. and Inspire Create LLC in San Diego, California.
Whether she is chasing her two children or launching a new product for her company, she enjoys every minute and wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I have had wonderful learning and rewarding experiences with all my career choices so far,” concluded Davis.
For more information on the Little Balance Box, go to littlebalancebox.com.