Background: Research has found atypical Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) activity in some children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The current study examined whether an association may also be found between ASD and pass/refer results obtained via Automated Auditory Brainstem Response (AABR) screening. As stewards of large-scale AABR data, an AABR – ASD association may be of interest to EHDI programs.

Methods: State EHDI data for 29,350 children born in Maine between 2003 and 2005 were linked with education records, including special education status, for the 2010/2011 and 2013/2014 school years.

Results: Children who did not pass their AABR screen but were later documented to have typical hearing were at more than eight times the odds of being identified with ASD at 5 to 7 years of age, and over six times the odds at 8 to 10 years of age.

Conclusion: Newborns who did not pass their AABR screen but were subsequently diagnosed with typical hearing, experienced higher rates of ASD five to 10 years later. With further research evidence, this may create opportunities for EHDI programs to support and facilitate the work of colleagues in the ASD community, as well as further assist families already touched by EHDI systems.