NJCTS created the Faith W. Rice Legacy Award to honor someone who has gone above and beyond in education, advocacy or research. Someone who has enriched the lives of those in the Tourette Syndrome community while bringing an awareness of TS to a wider circle of educators and healthcare providers. The 2023 award was presented to Cheryl Ludwig.
Cheryl Ludwig is a licensed speech and language pathologist with over 45 years of experience working with special needs children. She is also not a stranger to the struggles of TS families. Her three children were all diagnosed with the disorder. When she learned that a newly created Tourette Syndrome advocacy group was creating a team to educate teachers throughout New Jersey, she jumped on board to help.
“Cheryl was tasked with educating the educators about Tourette Syndrome,” explained Pat Phillips, NJCTS Executive Director. “At the time, in the late 90s, there was a great deal of stigma associated with having TS and educators were not equipped to support the students living with TS and the many associated disorders.”
Under the leadership of Faith Rice, this education outreach team presented 3-hour long workshops to teachers at community colleges across the state. Cheryl then helped develop faculty presentations so clinicians could go directly into Middle and Elementary schools. NJCTS uses many of the elements of her presentations when they go into schools today.
“There is not an NJCTS program that Cheryl or her influence has not touched,” said Pat. “Cheryl is a wealth of knowledge and resources, and we are grateful for her willingness to share.”
Cheryl has been involved in family retreats, the Tim Howard Leadership Academy, and Parent and Youth Summits giving practical advice to the teens about transitioning from high school to college and helping their parents to let them go.
“She has walked the walk and talked the talk, and she’s always happy to share any knowledge she’s gained from her own journey as a parent to three children with TS,” said Melissa Fowler, NJCTS Leadership Academy Director. “She has inspired in me commitment to ensuring children—and their parents—don’t merely survive the difficult years with TS, but grow and thrive. She is passionately committed to seeing every child succeed.”