A study involving 97 infants, of whom 56 were at high risk of an autism spectrum disorder, has found that the high-risk infants later found to have ASD (only 16 of the 56) were slower to orient or shift their gaze (by approximately 50 milliseconds) than both high-risk-negative and low-risk infants. Moreover, visual orienting in low-risk infants was uniquely associated with a specific neural circuit (the splenium of the corpus callosum), but was not in those later classified with ASD.
In other words, atypical visual orienting, seen early in ASD, is associated with a deficit in a specific neural circuit in the brain.
Elison, J.T. et al. 2013. White Matter Microstructure and Atypical Visual Orienting in 7-Month-Olds at Risk for Autism. Am J Psychiatry 2013;:. 10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12091150