I don't have access to the full study so I can only make a quick note on this. I'm told that autistic children tend to avoid eye contact. They don't do this on purpose but they miss the significance of it in a social context.
|Kitten Stare. Super Cute. Photo Belal Khan on Flickr. Some cats do stare!|
A recent study decided that the gaze of domestic cats is less intrusive than that of dogs (and humans?). This may be a reason why some autistic children develop stronger relationships with domestic cat companions compared to dogs. Dogs tend to hold long gazes whereas cats don't like to stare because it indicates a threat.
This may make autistic children more comfortable in their presence. The thought comes from Marine Grandgeorge at the University of Rennes in France.
This is hot off this press so to speak and other websites will publish this information in the future at which point I will be able to add to the article with some more details.
Comment: I'm not sure of the significance of the idea. Perhaps it helps to understand the reasons behind the inability or lack of desire of autistic children to hold eye contact.