Neural mechanisms that underlie language disability in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been associated with reduced excitatory processes observed as positive blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) responses. However, negative BOLD responses (NBR) associated with language and inhibitory processes have been less studied in ASD. In this study, functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that the NBR in ASD participants was reduced during passive listening to spoken narratives compared to control participants. Further, functional connectivity between the superior temporal gyrus and regions that exhibited a NBR during receptive language in control participants was increased in ASD participants. These findings extend models for receptive language disability in ASD to include anomalous neural deactivations and connectivity consistent with reduced or poorly modulated inhibitory processes.