I have a dog, a very nice dog, who has a parti eye. Parti has nothing to do with party, although I think she might be considered a party dog too, unless a stranger is in the house. A parti eye is an iris that is missing color along one quadrant. It does not affect her vision, but it does give her a kind of cross-eyed look. There was a time, after we rescued her, when she would not look me in the eye. I think it was a sign of respect. She did not want to rile me up by staring. I sometimes think the autistic child has a similar inclination. Such a child seems to be in pain if you get right in from of him/her and make him/her look at you. The treatment, of course, is to get the child to repeat this experience over and over again, until it comes more naturally. In the case of my dog, named Iris, of course, she came to look directly at me as she came to know me better, even look down on me, I think, from time to time.
Iris stares at me, in particular, when I have something interesting to say, such as "You want to go for a walk? Or out in back?" Or "cheese?" But I have noticed that I have to say everything twice. The first time means only that she should pay attention. I wonder if this behavior also has some relevance to bringing up autistic children, or children, in general, for that matter. That's why I always recommend that a parent ask the child to do something twice before he beats him/her over the head with a stick. When Iris wants something (It is almost always the same thing--to go out in back) she pokes me with her head. Putting it that way, however, does not do justice to the seriousness of her intent. Whatever I am holding goes flying across the room.