Eye direction detection has been claimed to be intact in autism, but the development of this skill has not been investigated. Eleven children with autism and 11 typically developing children performed a demanding face-to-face eye direction detection task. Younger children with autism demonstrated a deficit in this skill, relative to younger control participants. Older children with autism were as accurate as older control participants on this task. In autism, eye direction detection is deficient in late childhood but is typically accurate by adolescence. The implications of this finding for models of social cognitive development in autism are considered.