Mom creates site for babysitters who specialize in caring for children with special needs

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – She interviewed 50 babysitters and after multiple failed experiences, a local mom decided to do something about it. Marie Maher's son has autism and finding a sitter was brutal.

She birthed a site that reflected her reality. It's called synapsesitters.com. Marie says after creating a website for all types of babysitters. Her vision for her business shifted after her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. So, she decided to rebrand and create a site specifically for families with special needs children to find babysitters who specialize in caring for them.

"They just understand that my son is more than his diagnosis, that he is still a child and it's just been a huge weight off of our shoulders," Marie said.

Her son was diagnosed at 3 years old.

"That was kind of when a lot of his behaviors starting coming out and I had a lot of sitters who just kind of quit calling me back or would call me when they were watching my son telling me I needed to come home because he was having a tantrum," Marie said.

Marie says sitter after sitter quit or never took the job after learning her son had autism. So this ambitious mom created synapsesitters.com. It's an online network for families to find specialized babysitters.

"We verify that they have some type of education or employment background within human services. So think nurses, teacher, occupational therapist and college students also studying within those fields," Marie said.

Marie says more than 100 qualified sitters are on the site and more than 20 Indy families have signed up. She's even hired a sitter for a sporadic night out. The site currently serves Indianapolis families and about 20 miles outside the city.

"We go out to dinner now. We can actually make plans and even with my girlfriends you know I can now if something pops up I don't need a month in advance notice."

More than anything Marie says she doesn't feel bad for taking time away for self-care, knowing her child is in good hands.

"Giving myself that permission to not have to have some huge event to go to the fact that I could call someone to come over for a couple hours because I just need to recharge you know a walk alone in target is just so much different when you're able to do that."

April is Autism Awareness Month, so Marie is offering a month free for families to try out the site.