I like the term high need, because that was exactly what made my DD different (and I'd cared for many children over the years, as a nanny, so I wasn't "just" a shocked first-time mum). Spirited she may be, in some ways. Strong-willed and physically strong (but always tiny!). And full of energy, but more determination and perseverance than wired. She's always "on", and has had a lot of trouble relaxing (except when breastfeeding).
I like high need, because DD demanded (and loudly!), to always be held, only be held by her parents, to be breastfed nearly all the time, to not get dressed (or only dressed in some, quick, simple way), to never be put down, to no have her diapers changed (or to do it with her upright), to never ever be wet (even in disposables), to always be held upright, to not be confined in a sling or carrier or carseat, to only sleep next to me on the bed at night, and only in the push chair in the day time, to throw herself out of our arms if we didn't get her what she wanted right away... And to always demand it right now (never suck hands when hungry or making sounds, just reach and then SCREAM). Still, after the first month or so she didn't scream much, because we responded right away. We held her the way she wanted etc. Obviously, she needed all that.
Anyways, yes, I think some babies are high need, DD is just very different from other kids I've known. And then I know others who are actually high need too, but mostly they are the toddlers and preschoolers that run riot, which DD just doesn't do. Different ways of high need.
On the other hand, I also know some parents who kind of expect their kids to be angels, and just fit into the parents' life smoothly. I suspect some of them are actually quite relaxed babies, average babies, just they won't sleep 12 hours at a stretch
and get upset when they are hungry... On the other hand, I've never heard any of these parents refer to their kids as high need, they're kind of the type of parents who are more likely to read Babywise than the Sears! (Instead I've heard them refer to their babies as "stroppy", "fussy", "difficult", "naughty", "trouble" and "bad". Makes me a bit sad. )
"The parents just need to ...." makes me see red! Really easy to judge other parents, but I'd rather not. I don't know what their life is like. I do however know that with MY child, the best way of getting her to spiral way out of control is to try to impose routines on her (as it happens, I thrive on routines, she doesn't). A rhythm works, if I don't worry too much about it, but look more to my child. If I go with the flow, she tends to fall into a routine of her own. (When we tried to get her to bed at 8.30, every night it would take longer before she slept, after a week or so not until 11. So we dropped it, and after a couple f months she'd pulled her bedtime back to 7.30-8 - she'd never ever slept that early!)