Dani Krause sits at a table with a student working on the alphabet.

Dani Krause: Pursuing Her Passion for Special Education

Dani Krause, who is a paraprofessional instructional aid for students in The Chicago Lighthouse’s Children’s Development Center since 2022, has an affinity for the underdogs. When she was seven years old, Dani was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. “It came out of nowhere and required immediate surgery, radiation and chemotherapy,” Dani says. “One day, I was doing gymnastics and ice skating – and I was pretty good at them. Then, after my surgery, I was unable to walk, talk and had vision problems.”

After the surgery, doctors still were unsure of her prognosis for recovery. She and her family met with surgeons and specialists from around the country, including Lurie Children’s Hospital, Harvard Mass General, Johns Hopkins, the Rehab Institute of Chicago and many others. She participated in four clinical trials, relearned how to walk and speak, and beat the odds. She has been cancer free for 18 years.

That’s not to say the experience left her unchanged. Having fought so hard for herself, she learned to never give up, and became determined to help others reach their fullest potential. At the University of Arizona, Dani majored in Early Childhood Education and minored in Special Education and Rehabilitation. She graduated with honors.

“I am so grateful and excited to work here with special needs children,” Dani says. “Working with special needs students isn’t always easy, and it can be frustrating, but the joy of seeing students learn and grow is worth it. I am genuinely grateful to the one-of-a-kind Chicago Lighthouse family for the opportunity to follow my passion. I look forward to further contributing.”

Beginning this summer, Dani will contribute even further as the lead teacher in the Children’s Development Center’s classroom for older students, where she will continue making an impact on students’ lives every day.

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