The aim in the current study was to investigate the early development of joint attention, eye contact and affect during the first 2 years of life, by using retrospective parental interviews and analyses of home videos of infants who were later diagnosed with Autistic Disorder (AD). The 36 children with AD and the 27 matched control children were all aged between 3 and 5 years at recruitment. Reported anomalies in gaze and affect emerged in the children with AD as early as the first 6 months of life, generally becoming more severe just prior to the second birthday. Video data confirmed these anomalies from as early as the first year. Joint attention impairments were found throughout the second year of life. The results suggest that early dyadic behaviours-eye contact and affect-may play a role in the joint attention impairment in AD.