By: Christopher Polis
The Archway got the amazing opportunity to speak with an amazing person, Rocio Caceres. Rocio is a 20-year-old student, currently living outside of Dallas, Texas. Along with being the most positive, happy, and wholesome person you’d ever meet, Rocio is an advocate for those with disabilities. However, she doesn’t believe the word “disabled” is proper. Instead, Rocio prefers to see all people as “unique.” As a published author and a trilingual communicator, Rocio’s potential is immeasurable considering she only becomes more and more passionate each day about helping others. Let’s hear Rocio’s remarkable story thus far…
Chris: Tell us about yourself. Where have you lived and traveled to? What classes have you taken and which interests you most? Who are some of your biggest inspirations and why?
Rocio: I was born in Valencia, Spain. When I was 9 months old, I moved to Longmeadow, Massachusetts. There, they found I had Cerebral Palsy, thought to be the outcome of a lack of oxygen. Indeed, that was my case – life didn’t stop though! I still went to Blueberry Hill Elementary, and was put on a least restricted environment plan. All that means is that I took common core classes along with other students, but the difference was that I’ve been slightly guided by dedicated caregivers who’d work with me and help with things like increasing font size.
Likewise, when I lived in Minnesota for a year, I was given tips and tricks to aid memory. One of the cool things is that since vision is limited for me, people read stuff to me and my mind soaks up the information as if it were a sponge. I was very capable of passing classes like Math, Chemistry, English, Biology, and History with an A+ grade. Working hard and learning a lot, I was proud to receive a high school diploma.
I’m currently in college at Springfield Technical Community, finishing up my second year. So far in college, I have taken classes in subjects such as English, Psychology, Computer Science, and Math. However, the writing classes are most important to me because I want to become a well-known writer that inspires children to be better people. Since the semester is coming to a close, I am unsure what classes I’ll take next year at this time, but I am certain that I love learning new and challenging concepts!
Some of my biggest inspirations are my mom because of her ability to create something out of nothing with her paintings, my dad for all his knowledge about business and his drive to share it, my sister Paloma for her intelligence, my sister Luz for her ability to be goofy and entertain a crowd, my sister Arancha for her ability to build skyscrapers, and my former caregiver, Sammy, for having the patience everyone should have toward others – including me.
Chris: You’re a published author with a series of books about a pet bunny you had named Fluffy – what inspired you to begin writing these books? Why was Fluffy so special to you and your family? Of the many memories you wrote about, what is your favorite memory of Fluffy?
Rocio: I’ve always considered my bunny a best friend. Her loss was very heartbreaking since I took close care of Fluffy and I was very confused since it was a sudden death. I decided to turn a negative into a positive and make a book about her life to have a long-lasting memory. My favorite part of the book is my explanation of how she ripped a couch apart since I remember this vividly! It brings a smile to my face to call that to mind!
Chris: Why do you like to write? Do you think that writing is a great way to communicate and keep your brain strong? Aside from the Fluffy series, what other types of books could you see yourself writing?
Rocio: In the near future, I will consider writing any story that teaches children life lessons and influences them in a positive way. I also think that writing to communicate with your loved ones is a great way to remind them that you are there for them even if you are far away, as well as with people who you don’t know! It is an opportunity to be creative and to tell a good story, which makes your brain stronger. That’s important because CP affects your brain function a lot, and you have to work hard to regain it.
Chris: You can speak 3 languages fluently, what fascinates you about learning a new language such as German? How is learning a new language beneficial in terms of communication? What is most challenging, but most rewarding about learning a new language?
Rocio: I believe learning new languages opens many doors when trying to communicate with new family and friends, even if they understand you in English or Spanish, going the extra mile is important! My sister is going to be married to a German, so I began learning to be able to communicate with their future kids and with his family. You can travel more and blend in with culture. It’s also good because German is not a language I’d hear daily until I started learning, so teaching myself pushes me out of my comfort zone. The challenge here is spelling German words! You might miss letters as there are tons of extras. On the plus side, if you practice it, you master it.
Chris: How has CP changed your life? What is your message for others with CP and for those who aren’t familiar with CP? Considering you especially strive to support and help non-verbal communicators, what is your message to non-verbal communicators?
Rocio: The most important message I would like to spread about CP is that we’re all unique, whether nonverbal or verbal, we can all get things done in our very own way, just with a little help. A huge factor with CP is physical pain in your muscles. Well, if you have love surrounding you – then smile and love back, because that makes the pain get better.
Thank you, Rocio. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to hear your story and share it with readers! Personally, Rocio has made such a positive impact in my life despite only knowing her for a short period of time. The best part is, Rocio’s capacity to care doesn’t just stop at you or I – Rocio has the ability to help the whole world care more.