The structure of the planum temporale is often disturbed in disorders with associated communication problems, particularly in auditory and language processing areas in the brain. We hypothesized that people with autism would have reduced left hemisphere volumes in the planum temporale, a language related brain structure. We performed magnetic resonance imaging scans of 15 adults with autistic disorder and 15 comparison subjects, and measured the volume of gray matter in the planum temporale and Heschl's gyrus (HG) in both hemispheres. Planum temporale volume reduced in the left hemisphere of the autism group (P<0.003). No differences in HG volumes were observed between the two groups. The volume reduction seen in the left hemisphere of the autism group may suggest an early neurodevelopmental disturbance in autism that impacts language development.