Children with early treated phenylketonuria (ETPKU), a disorder associated with developmental dopamine depletion, were tested with a visual orienting paradigm to determine the existence of lateralized deficits in specific attentional operations. Male ETPKU subjects showed a right visual field impairment in disengaging attention, indicating left hemisphere dysfunction, and overall slowed reaction times. Female ETPKU and normal subjects did not differ. The results suggest that for males, dopamine depletion disrupts left hemisphere function. This finding has important implications for disorders with suspected developmental dopamine abnormalities, and may also illustrate how sex differences in functional lateralization develop in the normal brain.