The terms active and hyperactive have a rather thin distinction but it is nonetheless, an important one. An active child is someone who perhaps is tireless with bounds of energy supply but he / she does not face difficulties at school, has good relations with friends, and is able to control self when needed (for e.g., school assemblies). They also understand when their shortcomings are pointed out and change can be expected from them. Does that sound like Ajay’s case above?
A hyperactive child is one who is tireless & has significant difficulty in getting organized (e.g., packing school bags) and staying focused. They do not have lasting friendships and often have difficulty making friends. Even if they do understand that their behaviour is causing difficulty to themselves or others around them, it is difficult for them to control it. Many times, they also have difficulty understanding the implication of their behaviour even when spoken to directly. Carol, from the above example, seems to be having some traits of a hyperactive child but we cannot say it for sure yet. To be sure that Carol is a hyperactive child with or without attention issues, we have to talk to her, run some psychometric tests, observe her behaviour at home / school, and then decide.
Attaching labels is becoming easier with each passing day. Although, ADHD and its variations are common childhood conditions, the over diagnosing of these conditions is on a rise. Labeling young, happy, energetic, children as hyper-active simply because they did not follow a teacher’s instructions or did not make their bed when the parent commanded, wrongfully takes away their rights to childhood. You as a parent or teacher will know when there is an actual problem that needs to be addressed. If in doubt, talk to a mental health professional and avoid loosely labeling children as what they are not.
Let children be active, for they are children, and if not they, then who will jump around & be merry?