Best Buddies

A New Inclusive Alliance

Best Buddies® International and Miracle® Recreation have teamed up to create truly inclusive play spaces for people of all abilities, including individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Together, we are dedicated to delivering play experiences that embody true inclusion—starting with kids at the grade-school level, when they first form their social awareness and behaviors.

Best Buddies® Buddy Bench

This is so much more than a simple bench. A symbol of empowerment and a rallying point, Best Buddies Buddy Benches promote a culture of inclusion that will last for generations in your community. They may be purchased separately or serve as the final touch to your Best Buddies + Miracle Inclusive Playground.

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Best Buddies® + Miracle® Inclusive Playgrounds

These playgrounds are intentionally designed so children of all abilities and their caregivers can play, be challenged, and have fun together. Best Buddies + Miracle inclusive playgrounds go beyond wheelchair accessibility to include features that support the needs of kids with IDD, so everyone has a truly inclusive, inviting, and enjoyable playground experience.

Meet Best Buddies®

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, inclusive living, and family support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 3,500 chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ programs engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 45 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 1.3 million people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.

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Best Buddies + Miracle inclusive playgrounds signal friendship, social empowerment, and inclusion. They’re designed to support users in the following ways:

  • Unitary Surfacing – Using poured-in-place surfacing, tiles, or turf helps those with balance issues or a mobility device (e.g., cane, walker, wheelchair) explore more easily across the play space.
  • Fencing – Some children with autism run when overwhelmed, overstimulated or excited. Surrounding the play space with fencing keeps individuals who elope safe.
  • Sensory Play – All children learn best through sensory play, but this is especially true for children with autism, sensory processing disorders, and sensory disabilities such as blindness and deafness.
  • Range of Challenges – Providing a graduated range of challenges ensures that all children have equal opportunities to play—whether they need more postural support and easy-to-use equipment, or do not have any mobility issues. Equipment is placed so that everyone plays together.
  • Retreats – Providing a retreat, a quiet and calming area away from the rest of the play space, is essential to help an individual who is overwhelmed or overstimulated.
  • Motion Play (without leaving a wheelchair) – Creating opportunities for wheelchair users to be in the middle of play, and ensuring they experience movement without needing to transfer out of their chair, allows them to truly be part of the action.
  • Social Opportunities – Social environments allow visitors to hang out and practice social skills.
  • Site Amenities – Providing site amenities, such as the Best Buddies Buddy Bench, supports socialization, rest, and safety.
  • Orientation Path – A path around the play space assists children with autism, Fragile X, and other undiagnosed disabilities, allowing them to orient themselves to the space. This also provides a place that is less busy to go and regroup.
  • Muscle Tone Support – Equipment is designed to support children with hypertonia and hypotonia. Hypertonia is a condition in which there is too much muscle tone and the arms and legs are stiff and difficult to move, such as occurs with cerebral palsy. Hypotonia features decreased muscle tone or muscle loss, such as occurs with muscular dystrophy.
  • In addition, we strongly recommend your inclusive play space includes a family restroom with an adult changing table, to better serve the needs of everyone in the community.

Best Buddies® + Miracle® Inclusive Playgrounds are designed to connect kids of all abilities and their families through the power of play.

Brand Sponsorship

This partnership was developed through Agency Shmagency, an innovative sales and marketing consultancy with a global client roster. Learn more about opportunities for your brand to sponsor Best Buddies Inclusive Playgrounds

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Miracle and Best Buddies International have announced a groundbreaking playground design alliance, creating a global standard for inclusive play.

View the press release