I never realized the terms "high-needs" and "spirited" were so controversial. I've never been bothered by people who say their child is high-needs when going through a normal phase. This doesn't usually hurt anything, so I don't see a purpose in arguing semantics. I don't spend a lot of time dissecting other people's perceptions and judging whether I think their situation is really high needs or not.
It bothers me much more to hear people say that there are no high needs children, or that all babies are high needs (way to pretend no one has any real problems), or that poor parenting causes it, or if only you do this and this (insert parenting technique here), it will all be fine. What expecially grates on me is that the people who know the least seem to talk the loudest about their proposed "solutions" to the child's behavioral issues.
I know there are several other people here who have said things like this also, but my youngest screamed (not cried, actually screamed) for several hours a day for his first few months. I swore I would never have another child after him, and I haven't. Often in public I heard comments said behind my back but meant to be within my hearing, such as "some people shouldn't have children if they can't care for them" or "there are no bad babies, only bad parents". I've had total strangers come up to me and give advice on what they think his problem is and what I should do about it. Then there are other, kind people, who make reassuring statements that some babies are fussy but they will grow out of it in due time. Except mine didn't grow out of it either.
In years since he has followed a developmental pediatrician and is in special ed at school for sensory integration disorder and several mild developmental delays. But as a baby without a diagnosis, I was the worst parent ever, no matter what I did or didn't do. This is not something I ever want to go through again, and I have trouble even reading some of the posts here because I've become so sensitive to the topic.