If you're considering a computer-based communication aid - everything from an iPod to an eye-gaze controlled laptop, then it's fair to assume that in addition to the communication software, you'll be offered a variety of vocabularies to choose from.
Vocabularies are essentially software that allow you to get the right words on your communication aid. As a parent, carer or therapist you know how much patience and hard work is involved in getting the right words on printed communication books or boards. With computer-based aids like some of the ones featured in this website offering an unlimited choice of words, what typically happens is that the device is sold with your choice of a 'vocabulary package' - for example a collection of pre-made grids of words and phrases - which most closely matches the needs of the individual.
This vocabulary is then personalised to their specific language needs - family and friends, the things they like and dislike, places they enjoy going to, and so on. So more time can then be spent with the individual helping them to select and use the words efficiently, rather than programming a mountain of word and phrase grids into the aid.
So when choosing a vocabulary you first need to find out the package that is most suitable for the individual concerned. Then you need to check that the vocabulary is available with the symbol system that the individual is used to, and then finally check that it is available for the software and hardware you wish to use. Many communication specialists argue that the vocabulary is more important than the hardware or software.
giving the gift of communication